Thursday, 30 July 2009

I'd Prefer Stonewall Over A Gay Council Of Britain

An elected council to represent gay interests is suggested by the well meaning Stephen over at Pink News. I agree with him on how the media seem to use activists and undemocratic polls to define debates without consultation of the majority of people. But splitting this country into self defining groups of people based on sexuality, religion or race is just one of the things I, as a unionist, feel undermines the very existence of our country, and basic equal rights, before we even consider how on Earth one would select the electorate of such a group.

It's a nice idea but unworkable and an antithesis to community cohesion. When are we going to start being human first before we are what we wish to define ourselves as? We are all human and it is in all our interests that we all work towards a world where we treat each other as equals. We are in the 21st century, and it's time we got over our tribal nature.

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Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Who Are Antifa?

On my train journey home today I spotted a sticker on the window. Usually when I see such stickers they are for some fascist, semi-Nazi crazy group, I often think "What frigging twat decided that the best way of advertising their scummy, rubbish organisation was by DEFACING a train?". Well I was in for a surprise today, as the organisation defacing other's property this time was "Antifa", an anti-fascist group.

I hate the BNP, the BNP Lite parties (hello to the English Democrats favourite friends, the EFP) and even some of the weirdo fascist policies of the more mainstream parties. But I believe, despite my extensive experience of dealing with the stupidity of both myself and so many, many other people, that the best way to deal with these people is through the democratic process, by winning moral arguments, by being better people than those who spew this rubbish.

Sadly Antifa are a "direct action" group. They encourage, if not idolise, physical confrontation and do not discourage violence. God, I wish my morals would allow me to cheer them on, but they don't. In my opinion direct action is fine when it aims for a result: i.e. the Second World War to defeat fascism, or breaking out political prisoners, or defending individuals from direct attack. There the action is warranted. But direct action, where it means attacking people in their homes or public spaces because they hold views different to you own, where it means attacking people who are demonstrating, where it means throwing things at an elected politician, then surely it cannot be anything but wrong.

Oh well... not much one can do about these sort of things... there will always be people willing to take things to this sort of low level on all sides of any debate. Jesus, if the anti-fascists are being this backward there is not much hope for humanity.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Another Hero Goes On To The Hereafter

Harry Patch, was the last surviving British imperial soldier from the First World War. Today he passed away, leaving just one former able seaman as our sole representative of the fighting forces of that era.

Our world, both the good and the bad aspects of it and on a personal and international level, is still shaped by the events of that war. WW1 was the start of the "modern" era, and we have a long way to go before we have completely sorted out all the issues arising from that period of time. It is sobering to think that these brave men took part (even a small part) in events that momentous. And it is sad that we have to lose them and their unique perspective on a moment in history.

May he rest in peace.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Photographer Detained In Kent... For Taking Photos Of Kentish Streets

Alright, so Kentish Streets makes it sound quaint when in fact it was Chatham (pronounced in the local vernacular "Chat'em") High Street which is anything but quaint. But regardless of my very Kentish prejudice against the town of my mother's birth, this story is pretty nasty.

One man was, for some bizarre reason, photographing the delights of Chatham when he found himself stopped, interrogated and arrested. Why? Because he'd been stopped so many times before, and decided this once he was not going to give his ID.

What irks me even more is the suggestion that part of the reason he was handcuffed for this "crime" was because the WPC found his size (no offense to him but a rather underwealming 1.81m) rather intimidating. As a vertically unchallenged person I find that offensive! If someone is acting intimidating, then I can understand. But if you are being intimidated by someone who is acting perfectly reasonably, just because they are tall, perhaps you need to find a new job outside of the police force.

Foolishly, our photographer decided that he wanted to pursue his dangerous hobby and returned to Chatham High Street where he was again confronted by the police but gave in much more easily this time (and you can't blame him, even if he shouldn't of needed to in the first place).

How can we live in a country where such abuse of our freedoms is allowed to flourish? How can the police think this is productive? They often talk about "community relations" but this is their way of saying "Don't offend the minorities". Maybe they should start really relating to their communities and stop harassing innocent members of the public for doing something so obviously peaceable. Did they have any evidence to suggest he was taking pictures of something security sensitive? Did they have any evidence to suspect him of doing anything untoward?

You get a report of a gang of kids causing trouble, so it is reasonable that should you come across a gang of kids you will stop them and ask them for details. So what report of trouble did they receive that caused them to stop this man? Was there someone matching his description causing trouble in the area? Probably not, this was just officious, fascistic stupidity at it's worst.

P.S. On an unrelated note, why do people think a man being 1.81m is tall? Average height for a man in this country is 1.75m for the population as a whole and 1.78m for those between 16 and 24. 5cm above average is hardly "tall". I know, I'm prejudiced, being 2.03m tall but still really. 1.9m is tall. 1.81m is just above average, nothing spectacular.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

The World Of Exotic Pets

As some of you may know my other half recently acquired a new pet, Gibbs the Bearded Dragon, who has taken up residence in our front room. And as some of you may know I have some history with "exotic" pets: 2 Horsfield's Tortoises, an American bullfrog and some Carausius morosus ("Indian Stick Insects") (plus of course all the other pets my Mum owned, just imagine a petting zoo. In a council house. With extra goats.)

This recent addition to our family has spurred my interest in all things "pet" and so I've been hanging around exotic pet forums. There are a lot of brilliant people on them, with some amazing pets. But I'm really truly shocked by the sort of people sometimes buying these animals.

When Jim wanted to buy a Bearded Dragon (following a casual visit to Pets At Home), he did his research. He read up on them, he bought the vivarium in advance and even when he was purchasing Gibbs (not from Pets At Home, in case you were getting worried!) he asked as many questions as he could of the helpful chaps in our local reptile specialist store. So when I see someone on the forums saying they've owned their Bearded Dragon for two years and want to know why it sometimes puffs up it's chin, I start to worry. These question

It gets worse: people finding common lizards and thinking their exotics (if you live in the south of this country and have never encountered a common lizard, I feel very sorry for you), people catching a rainbow trout and taking them home as pets (WITHOUT OWNING AN AQUARIUM, let alone one big enough and let alone the morality of wild caught pets), and simple and sensible questions like "Can I take my lizard on the Eurostar?" being answered with a bunch of speculation when a five second Google search can reveal the answer.

Thankfully there are sane people in the community but I never even considered the idea that someone over the age of 18 could purchase a pet without properly researching it. Do these people have no sense of responsibility? I shouldn't be surprised. I know, I know. But it's depressing. So very depressing. No wonder we need organisations like the RSPCA and the SSPCA.

Anyway, back to poking Gibbs with a big stick in the hopes he'll beard up again (joke people... joke... except this guy used a snake to get his Frilled Dragon to frill! SICK! These people are out there, God save their poor pets)

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Favourite Fundie Quote EVER

Atheists, how did leap year occur? While computing the days of rotation of earth around sun, one extra day..?
..was found which could not be adjusted since it wasn't a full day. So, the extra day was called a leap day which was added to every consecutive fourth year. Now, how did this occur? Where did this extra day come from?

In Bible, it says in the book of Joshua that God stopped Sun in the sky which did not move until Israelites won a war. It means, the rotation of the earth was stopped for sometime, which caused extra time requirement for the earth to finish its regular rotation around the sun, thus causing extra time added to the whole period of 365 days.

You see, everything is true in Bible when scientifically explore each of its incidents. Source: FSTDT

Brilliant stuff, and if you do not understand why this is amusing, this might help.

Simple answer: Units of time were created by man. And we created them wrongly. Hence the necessary correction.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Save OUR World

A lot of the opposition to environmentalism seems to fall around climate change, Government policy and sometimes weirdo religious beliefs (thankfully that last one is a tiny minority but you know how I spend too much time reading up on fundies, it skews my way of looking at things).

It's really rather frustrating. Whilst us well to do Westerners debate over the merits of being a little more environmentally friendly, and usually involve that debate with other "culture" conflicts, people are dying. Not from climate change. Not from rising sea levels or weird weather. But from loggers KILLING them to ensure no one interferes in their unscrupulous activities. The uncontacted tribes of South America are at risk of not just losing their way of life, but of being literally killed off because of greedy people who have no idea about the irrepairable damage they are doing to our world and to the world of those few tribes who continue to live their lives in the Amazon.

Thankfully some Governments take things seriously such as here in Peru. I just wish that people on both sides of the environmentalist debate would just stop arguing over climate change and what the Government should be doing. Screw the Governments of the Western world. The population of our countries will never let them do what needs to be done even if they wanted to. It's time we just pull our fingers out and give money to charities and organisations who can help make a difference now. I will, hopefully, return to giving 5% of my wages to charity by the end of the year. If we all did that we could do so much good.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Saturday, 18 July 2009

RIP Henry Allingham

Born in 1896, served in the First World War and a national treasure Henry Allingham has passed away.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Friday, 10 July 2009

Being Queer Is So Limiting

There seems to be a completely unnecessary split in the gay rights movement. One side, lead by Stonewall and other "mainstream" people, see the ultimate end as complete integration into the current status quo (minus a few important rights like marriage) whilst others, based on a rather limited and strange reading of queer theory, seem desperate to preserve homosexuality in a semi legal state just for shits and giggles. What do I mean by that? I mean they want homosexuals to be the rebellious, sex hungry stereotypes of the early eighties. It's a form of nostalgia really; they want to put gay people in a conservation scheme where nothing ever changes. "Save Our Fags" or some such thing.

It's quite sad so many people can be placed in one of those two camps. Not all, thankfully, but a large minority. Personally I place myself in an even more endangered minority: the reformers. We want to rebel against the status quo, against gender roles, against the prudes and the moralisers who seek to stop people living their lives how they wish to. But we don't want to live in a state of constant rebellion. We want achievements. And not just for gay people but for everyone. A "No Straight Person Left Behind" sort of scheme. True freedom for everyone. But we also want to foster respect and hope. We don't want to stick two fingers up at society and act like teenage ruffians. We want people to live how they wish to live. If they want to marry, live in monogamy and raise a happy family . So be it. If they want to fuck as many people as they can great (as long as they don't go messing around in our public spaces cruising). If they wish to marry several different people and stay married to them at the same time, go for it. Etc. etc. etc. We need a balance between respecting each others way of life and living how we want to. Is that too much to ask? Am I really a traitor to my sexuality because I don't want to ghettoise but want a better future for all humanity? It's a utopian vision, a naive utopian vision, but it's far better a thing to work towards than demanding all GLBT people act in one way and all straight people act in another which is what some of the "queer" folks out there want.

I'm here and I'm truly "queer", the real queer theory posits that we cannot be categorised at all for we are all unique individuals. That is something those demanding conformity to stereotypes in the name of queer seem to forget.

Sorry for the brain dump and the rant but I really needed to splurge that all out.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Thursday, 9 July 2009

We Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident

We here in the United Kingdom gave into Civil Partnerships, and the sexual apartheid system they created, with eagerness ignoring those brave lone voices who spoke out in defense of true equality for all. But in Ireland, our sister island across the sea, a ground swell of dissent is growing to counter the spread of this inequality into other parts of north western Europe.

One guy wrote to the Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern and when he didn't get a response, his Mum wrote a stern letter herself. Read it here.

Helen Doody, we salute you! For standing up for the basic concept of equality before the law, for fighting for human freedom and liberation, for boldly going where Mums have often gone before to stand up for her son. More info here

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Tuesday, 7 July 2009

So The Tories LOVE The Gays? Yeah... right!

I defended the Tories against Labour's recent desperate claims of the Tories still being homophobic. Not because the Tories AREN'T still a little homophobic but because Labour needs to get it's own house in order before pointing fingers.

Sadly the Tories couldn't be content with keeping silent and thus taking the moral high ground. No, they must send in Nick Herbert to say they've joined the progressive consensus on gay rights. Joy. Welcome to the "we don't support gay marriage or believe in allowing gay men to give blood" club. Very progressive.

When David Cameron used his first conference speech as party leader to talk about the importance of marriage, he added that the commitment was as important for gay couples as for those who are straight.

I'm sure Mr Herbert would not be trying to purposefully mix up words here in order to confuse us. But when he mentions "the importance of marriage" and then "the commitment" one might thing he thinks the commitment is marriage and by default suggests the Tories are suggesting marriage reform of some sort. Of course this is NOT the case and I think it rather poor of Mr Herbert to not choose his words more carefully. What Nick Herbert doesn't seem to realise is that throughout this article he is not suggesting the Tories are better than Labour when it comes to human rights. No, he's suggesting they are JUST AS BAD.

"I'm sorry," he said. "We got it wrong … I hope you can forgive us." Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the gay rights group Stonewall, described the apology as "a remarkably positive step forward". In telling contrast, Harriet Harman could not bring herself to welcome it. Don't be fooled, she said, and anyway it's all too late.

Oh yes, an endorsement from Mr Summerskill, self appointed leader of the gays who doesn't even support gay equality!!

The worst thing is the Tories engaged Labour, and decided to play tit for tat politics with a sensitive human rights issue for a minority group. They could of said "We're not playing your petty silly games". But no, same old Tories. It's time to stop focussing on gays and lesbians (there's enough of us keeping an eye on things thank you very much, we don't need the Tories to start sticking their oars in where they aren't wanted) and start talking about human rights for all. The Tories should be the natural home for libertarians yet the Tories seem completely unwilling to consider more personal freedom and seem more intent on the corporate freedom and "minority group" representation so adored by New Labourites. When will we individuals get our freedom to be who and what we want to be without Government referring to our Government appointed "community leaders"? No time soon if the Labour-Conservative hegemony continues.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Christians Must Repent And Change

Bishop says gays must repent and be changed

The Bishop of Rochester just can't help putting his foot directly into his mouth. Rather than being Christ like, rather than seeking to unite, he acts like a Pharisee desperate to break apart the Anglican Communion over small and unimportant rules from the Old Testament that Jesus never even bothered to care about. Shall we all wear only on type of cloth. sow our fields with only one sort of seed etc.? Does the Bishop eat shellfish? I hope not.

I'm not a Christian, I'm an atheist but there is little I admire more than someone living a Christ like existence. Sadly these people are few and far between ESPECIALLY among the clergy. If their God truly exists I believe people like the Bishop of Rochester have a nasty surprise in store for them. But my beliefs tell me they won't even get the punishment they deserve in the after life so I suggest we just get them sacked and force them to get real jobs so that more worthy individuals get a chance to lead their eager to believe flocks.

I will not repent of being a nice, decent person who falls in love with people of my own sex because there is NOTHING wrong with that. It is just as natural as being left handed. Being a bishop, on the other hand, is the construction of the human mind and is as natural as being a racing car driver or a interior decorator.. i.e. not very natural at all.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Nick Clegg Acknowledges The Fight For Gay Marriage

Today is both gay pride day here in London (which I shan't be going to, maybe next year but seeing Mrs Brown walking at the front of the parade whilst her husband fails to acknowledge our rights to equality would probably make me too angry to enjoy the rest of the day) and Independence Day in the USA. Whilst our LGBT friends in America continue the fight for gay marriage equality, over here we've sort of given up.

After yesterday's post where I slurred the Lib Dems good name by suggesting they didn't support gay marriage, I was pleased to be proven wrong by Nick Clegg's assertion on Labour List that civil partnerships are not fair and that until LGBT people can marry each other we are not equal. Nick Clegg proves me wrong once again, and I appreciate it!!

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Friday, 3 July 2009

Labour's Homophobic Shame

So Wednesday we saw New Labour's gay enabler's (Stonewall to you and me) true colours, as we saw they preferred to be uncontroversial rather than continue to fight for the rights of the gay people they pretend to represent. Now New Labour's gay big hitters have come out throwing insults at the Tories and their homophobic record.

Well I'm no fan of the Tories. You couldn't get me to vote Tory for love nor money (alright, a night with Spartan off Gladiators might cut it...). I think their history on homosexuality is appalling.

However, it makes me sick to see Ben Bradshaw and Chris Bryant attacking the Tories for homophobia when their own party (AND THEMSELVES!) has failed to propose or vote upon full gay marriage. They have the power to champion gay marriage. They are ministers in our current Government. They have not. So they should keep their mouths shut and, dare I say it, lay off the Tories. I'm a Lib Dem and my party don't support gay marriage either, and that is to the Lib Dems shame but I'm not a member of the front bench team so I don't have the same level of influence. I even have to say that given the work David Cameron has put in the Tories ALMOST have a right to be angry too. Based on my personal experience in Kent, most gay guys are actually Tories so maybe Labour should try to avoid alienating them even further!

As Peter Tatchell says in this article, Gordon Brown condemned Prop. 8 banning same sex marriage in California despite the fact we don't have it here!!! Sickening.

P.S. I apologise, I'm becoming a Peter Tatchell Guardian comment whore aren't I?

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

'Lots of gay and lesbian people don't actually want marriage'

Lots of black people don't actually want to vote. Lots of women don't actually want equal pay. Lots of wheelchair users don't want wheelchair accessible public transport.

No, no one was stupid enough to say the last three examples. But Ben Summerskill of Stonewall did say the following in this interview:

"Well, the issue on marriage is that again, there are a lot of vocal supporters, but the thing they've always focused on is actually the real rights and entitlements. As I said, we know there are quite a lot of gay and lesbian people who wouldn't want marriage, and some have explicitly said so. I think Antony Sher [the gay actor and playwright] gave an interview a while back where he said 'If it was marriage, I wouldn't want it. It recognises what's special about me and my partner.' And we know there are lots of lesbians who actually don't want marriage."

When questioned about those who do want gay marriage, Summerskill said: "Well, someone people do and they're perfectly entitled to express their views. We are one of many, many organisations but at the end of the day, in terms of our priorities, what we've always focused on, is absolutely practical hard outcomes which make a real difference to people's lives … The reality is half the population already call civil partnerships marriage anyway."

"It's one of Stonewall's ways of working. We're always more interested in things that make a real, practical difference to people's lives than perhaps just an intellectual and academic name. And my own view is that civil partnerships have been quite a remarkable piece of what used to be called in the old days 'political education'"

Stonewall. Self appointed defenders of equal rights for the so called LGB community (T's need not apply!). I thought of them once as benevolent folks doing their best to put on a decent front for the gay rights movement. But what they really are, what they are at the core of their organisation, is a front group for the conservative wing of the gay rights movement. They don't like it when people get a bit flamboyant in their protests. They don't like it when they do controversial things. They want us all to be bland, heterosexual clones who want to "fit in". I get the impression they might think those OTT gays out there are a bit embarrassing. They don't want equality, they just want us all to have a quiet, safe life. They have no higher mission to really change the outlook for us all, to bring our unique experiences into society and use them as a positive force for the betterment of all.

If you give money to Stonewall, stop! If your company does, tell them to stop (like I have and will again now citing this article as showing Stonewall to be against the companies equal rights policies). I might have been called an Uncle Tom recently because I believe in the gay rights movement moving on to full integration. But at least I believe in full integration and a little more, I believe we have a special perspective on life that might enhance the lives of others. Stonewall don't even support our right to live as equals with our heterosexual friends and family. That makes me sick.

Support Peter Tatchell and Outrage instead. Check out his latest article here

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