Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The Ongoing Digital Battle

 Continued backlash by civil rights campaign groups 38 Degrees and Open Right Group (ORG) among others towards the Condem's pressing ahead without consultation.

For many of us, the Digital Economy Bill wasn't the end. We had problems before it, and we still have problems... Only more... The bill was a victory for privatisation, big business, restriction.. And a defeat for free speech, human rights, common sense and consumers.
In the digital age it's vital that people recognise the importance of our actions and the regulations we impose because they can and will affect the future of Britain's growing digital based economy and the rights of consumers online. Internet access is quickly becoming a human right, some European countries have already declared it in law.

But what I have a problem with today is the blatant violation of consumer rights and trading standards in that most Internet Service Providers (ISP's) are able to get away with murder time and time again. Ofcom and independent watchdog's have received masses of complaints, and rightly so, as ISP's go unchecked in their deceit. Internet users are, sometimes unknowingly, ridden roughshod over by these internet 'moguls'.
File sharing, often portrayed as a terrible thing by conservative media (the kind where you wouldn't be surprised if they branded the internet as a cancer causing travesty to humanity), is used by so many people for such a range of different reasons. Consumer's aren't told about the ISP's right to tell you anything the hell they like whilst doing something totally different, for example your 'unlimited' bandwidth being capped or receiving speeds less than half of what you're paying for.
I think it's vital that we call for stronger and solid regulations on ISP's, removing these voluntary regulations' and put more control in the hands of the users. The government needs to recognise that the internet plays such a huge role in modern Britain, and the people need to recognise that if we don't act now, the government will without consent and and not necessarily in our favour.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

'Austerity Measures', tighten your belt, stiff upper lip, and the rest of the crap we're fed.

Laugh it up D&G, laugh it up... because we won't let it last forever.

Mr. Osborne has his little mind set on this idea that somehow, the people of Britain elected this government to tear it to shreds.

Gideon talks about these 'austerity measures' as though they are a dose of medicine that Britain has to take, only there's no sugar cube to take the edge off the bitterness. Like taking bitter medicine, I feel a lump in my throat as Gideon strips away another layer of Labour progress with each passing day.
As if he hadn't done enough damage already by squeezing the poorest in the poorest regions by revoking funding from organisations set up to spur economic growth outside the capital and it's tributaries, putting our education in jeopardy by making university education extortionately priced and by cutting money from schemes that gave young people a chance in life - Gideon is now ringing out the towel by 'reviewing over 400 tax reliefs', you know, the ones awarded to people who can barely afford to live as it is.

He justifies his cuts with 'foreign markets' and 'global investors' as well as a ridiculous amount of jargon, and excuse the crudeness, but for Christ's sake Gideon you just don't bloody get it. I'm no economist, but when I talk about Britain and it's economy, I'm talking about it's people, families, jobs. I'm sure that collectively the Tory MPs and their 'chums' could donate enough money to stop the rise in VAT or keep funding to the Future Jobs Fund.
But back on track, he needs to stop talking about his friends the bankers and start telling the truth, that he fully plans to squeeze we common people till we're dry. This absurd idea that raising VAT is in our best interests makes me wonder if he's ever even been into a high-street shop or a supermarket. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that when things get more expensive, things you wouldn't consider every day necessities, be it by a few pence to a few pounds, I stop buying them.

My personal opinion is that he's a small and cowardly little man. But I'd voice these opinions no matter who took this approach. Of course I understand Labour would have made cuts, but not nearly as rapid as this. Being on the receiving end of the cuts, and knowing they're about to hit me personally, it feels vindictive, vengeful and like he's just trying to 'get back at labour', an approach Labour didn't take in '97 - heck they kept and used policies that were beneficial!

Mr. Osborne needs to take a good hard look in the mirror and think, am I doing this for Tories, or am I doing this for the British people? Because if it is the former, then you should not be in a position of power, and it really is as simple as that.

Thoughts and comments greatly appreciated.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

There is no no.


I've just come back from work, it's coming up to 4:30am, but I'm inspired, so I'll write this now.

What's been getting to me lately, through the news and through talking to people in general, is the ignorance and arrogance, people's attitudes, towards equality.
To me, equality is an all embracing word. It's all inclusive, and leaves nobody out. But this is a view apparently not generally accepted as I ignorantly once thought. No, instead equality is a word used when convenient, when it suits people most. Family and friends alike express horrifying levels of intolerance towards what I consider fellow human beings which they speak of as little more than a nuisance, a problem that should be solved.

But there is no scale from one to ten for equality. There is no equality for some, but not others. There is no 'ifs' and 'buts' for equality. There is no 'better people' and 'worse people'. And most importantly there is no 'later', 'in time' or 'what can one person do?'.
Equality is one or ten, you're for it or you're against it. Equality is for everyone, there are no exceptions. Equality is definitive, there are no variations. All humans are equal, this is equality. You cannot defer actively seeking equality, instead help in any way you can, because if we do not act now, then the cause is lost.
If you are against the idea that every single person on earth should and must be equal, then you are prejudiced and intolerant. You're against creating a modern society, you're against a fair and equal future, you're against multiculturalism, you're against individualism, human rights and freedoms both collective and independent. It is 'inhuman' to not support equality for all humans.

Do not be disillusioned into thinking that we are living in enlightened times. The country and indeed the world is filled with inequalities.
I demand equality. No more discrimination and intolerance. Complete equality regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, mental ability, income/wealth, background, location, culture, opinions, health or anything else I may have missed out.

This is only a lot to ask if you don't believe that all of mankind are equal, otherwise, you, like me, believe this should be a given.

On a final note - it is best to remember that separate but equal is not equal. Maybe you should read up on the Us supreme court cases Plessy Vs. Ferguson and then Brown Vs The Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas (as well as the appropriate background reading if you wish) which should you give you a good idea of what I mean.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Schools for the poor.

Tories' plan for school on Saturdays is rejected by ATL Teachers Conference.
What is it with the Tories and their lapdogs we once called 'liberal' democrats?

I honestly can't understand why they are determined to further under-privilege lower income families. If it were up to Michael Gove, I'd have gone to school on Saturdays regardless of my abilities and potential. Because my family is low income, I would have had an extra day a week at school. The ignorant and rich among you are thinking "What's wrong with this? It'll give them the extra time they need", so let me spell it out for you - we don't want to go to school on Saturdays. It really is that simple. And anyone who thinks it's a good idea needs to look back and think 'Would I have wanted to give up my Saturdays when I was young to go to school an extra day?'.

On top of that, I shouldn't have to point out that this is income based segregation. No, I'm not being melodramatic. Sending children and young people to school and extra day because they're poor does is segregating them, and it's a step closer towards and ultimate Tory goal - segregating education along Plessy Vs Fergusen lines, with lesser facilities for the poorer. Maybe that last statement was a little melodramatic, but you understand what I'm saying.

I actually have a solution to the issues raised by Gove; "Children who come from homes where parents don't have the resources to provide additional stretch and cultural experiences could benefit from being in school for longer", and my solution is to not abolish Regional Development Agencies (RDA's). I've said it time and again but it's true, think about it.
Gove wants more of the 'stretch and challenge' that had been an area of focus under Labour, and they want more cultural experiences for young people. How many Condems actually know what RDA's do? Because part of their role is providing just that in the form of projects, residentials, festivals and a whole range of other experiences. To name but one of these - CultuRise. RDA funded. A project that aims to give young people more cultural experiences.
It would seem to me, and possibly anyone who opens their eyes, that abolishing the very thing that's achieving your aims is... self defeating, harmful and most certainly not in the public's and particularly young people's best interests.

Sit, stay, roll over, play dead!

It seems that big business has the Condems neatly wrapped up. 
I've already blogged about the despicable privatisation of education by Michael Gove, but now they've taken another step in that horrible direction in the form of Andrew Lansley's 'reforms'.

One would imagine that when the Condems talk about modernising and making things more efficient that their policies would be a little progressive and forward thinking, but no. Lansley has decided to abolish the Food Standards Agency, a watchdog set up in response to the growing concerns of consumer groups and after the BSE (mad cow disease) crisis which occurred, I should add, under Tory watch after they loosened regulations. I'm sure I don't need to go to much into the whole crisis, but some 150 have been killed by vCJD caused from eating infected meat, with a further 5 cases diagnosed every year (average). The FSA was set up to prevent anything like this happening again, and has been vital to strict regulations in regards to food. I don't think that strict regulation being imposed on the food industry is overly active government, and the FSA have battled with the food industry and helped make what we buy in supermarkets healthier, battling fast food companies and the ingredients they use.
To abolish the FSA for protecting consumers, that's everyone who eats (so, everyone) is groundless and can only been denoted to Lansley and the Condems yet again servicing big businesses and industry. Gove and Lansley have already mastered sit and stay, soon they'll learn play dead.
It worries me that this "government" (and I use that word with a pinch of salt) is managing to get away with this. They take advice from the Taxpayers Alliance, a group that has no relevance and certainly does not represent the tax payers in terms of their make up (upper middle class leadership, and can boast only several thousand members.... not exactly much in comparison to the tens of millions of actual taxpayers) and their vehemently conservative outlook, as well as media moguls like Rupert Murdoch - the Ernst Stavro Blofeld of the media. And when a regulatory body such as Ofcom challenge the relationship between the Tories and Murdoch the Tories turn around and squeeze them, threatening their very existence.
There's a big difference between pluralism and elitism.

I'm of the opinion that a government is there to serve the people, not the other way around. And removing protective watchdogs is NOT in the people's best interest. That's not a matter of opinion, it's fact, plain and simple.

Blog News

November 2nd
Yup, still going, and hopefully November will be a return to regular blogging as I settle back into things.
As always, feel free to comment, I WILL respond.

Thanks, Tom.