Monday, 29 June 2009

What Is The Point Of Climate Change Denial?

Serious question! Other than "being right" if it turned out to be true, what is the point of it? What do climate change deniers think is the best outcome if they got what they wanted?

I know these questions sound confrontational, and I'm not going to pretend I'm on the fence (although I'm not a climate change evangelist either!), but serious, polite answers would be appreciated because all I can find out there on the climate change sceptic sites is evidence against climate change not benefits of fighting climate change legislation versus benefits of it proceeding even if climate change were not true. It leaves me confused as to the motives of the deniers.

Anyone out there willing to point me in the right direction?

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Sunday, 28 June 2009

40 Years And None The Wiser

It is the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots today. Sadly I bet more than 50% of young gay people in this country couldn't even tell you what actually happened there.

I can pinpoint the day I finally gave up on the idea of a gay community. It was the day that civil partnerships began. There were no protests. Barely a glimmer of dissent. It was all wedding bells and romance as the British GLBT community not only gave up on a dream of "equality" but also on liberation for all. The "community" quietly shuffled into a forced apartheid and one it would be very difficult to get out.

I admit my opinions are often highly influenced by the oft controversial Peter Tatchell, but I think it's more he manages to put them down in writing and have them make sense in a way I simply am unable to. Such as in this article to coincide with the Stonewall anniversary. I don't subscribe to all his ideas but true marriage freedom for all (whether you marry for love, or are just elderly spinster marrying to gain the same rights to property and protection) is one I am behind 100%. It's time the Government and society stopped deciding who can and can't have the special rights of marriage and allow each person the freedom to make decisions themselves.

That's why I've stopped believing in "gay rights" and instead now believe only in human rights for all. It's why I see the fight for gay marriage as not an end in itself but a step forward towards the liberation of all. I know, Americans are going "I told you so, it's a slippery slope! They'll allow minors to marry next, then men and dogs!!" Well sorry, but I still believe in the concept of "consent" too. Dogs can't give consent and children can't legally give consent either. So it's no slippery slope. It's something called "freedom". Freedom means allowing people to do things YOU DESPISE! Freedom does not come without pain.

I know that the world I desire, for instance, can never come into being with true freedom. A world where men and women are truly equal, where sexual orientation is no more exciting than whether you like marmite or not, where religion is a personal thing and where nationalism has given way to humanism. But thanks to human evolution these goals can not exist in a world of freedom. And I am prepared for that. Are you prepared to give up your world view to allow everyone to be truly free? I doubt it, I really do.

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

Sunday, 21 June 2009

The Problems Of Science In Mainstream Media

The major problem I have with science reporting (and there are more than a few issues!) is that they treat everything as "new". New study confirms/finds/discovers the following EXCLUSIVE. Except the following had been proved a million times before and it really shouldn't come as a surprise.

Take this news story: Homosexual behaviour widespread in animals according to new study. Anyone with a vague interest in science will know this is not a new thing!!! It goes on to suggest the study has found evolutionary advantages to homosexual behaviour, which the article treats as a revelation. Sorry guys, this too is OLD news.

I mean really if you have half a brain you'd think "Hmm... all these gay animals, it can't just be random." It's not. Each species involved has got to that point for various reasons. In a few it'll have no advantages, but in most it will and the advantage will be individually tailored to the species involved (like gay black swans, who find a female, breed with her, then drive her away and bring up the chick. With two males looking after the chick it has a higher likelihood of survival hence the evolutionary benefits). It's a no brainer. There's even a very extensive study published in 2006 on the evolution of homosexuality (here).

If only studies were reported with this in mind.

Maybe it's because I spend hours listening to sceptic/science podcasts every week, but the state of science reporting is something to be sad about (thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for Ben Goldacre)

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

Friday, 19 June 2009

English Democrat Mayor U Turn

Amazing how quickly politicians go from radicalism to keeping the status quo. The English Democrat Mayor of Doncaster, Peter Davies, has gone back on his plan to cut funding for pride. Whilst I don't applaud the decision to fund pride (I believe all suck frivolous things should be beyond the scope of Government, including any "national" parade), I do laugh at how quickly this one turned. Next we'll have the new BNP Euro MEPs voting for equal rights measures.

This, I think, disproves the idea that Mr Davies is not homophobic. I originally felt he was, based on the wording of his statement to stop the funding. If the cut had been because he believed in a reduced Government role in such community events and value for money for the tax payer, then he would not have gone back on it. Instead when he found that such events would benefit local businesses (if not all taxpayers) then he decided to continue the funding and forget his obvious dislike for the GLBT community in the name of more money for local business. Disgusting. Not only do taxpayers have to fund events they might not agree with (such as a St George's Day parade!) they now get to subsidise local businesses they might now wish to support!!

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Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Health and Safety Craziness

I believe health and safety to be an extremely important thing. The amount of lives lost in accidents is still far too high but, thanks to health and safety legislation and awareness, is a lot lower than it could be. We've come a long way from sending 9 year olds down the mines.

But sometimes I am disgusted by the stupidity of some people in this country. Case in point, the following article about a Diet Coke advert.

A TV advert which showed pop singer Duffy cycling through a supermarket has been cleared by an advertising watchdog after health and safety complaints.

Eighteen viewers complained the singer, from Nefyn, Gwynedd, was not wearing reflective clothing and her bicycle had no lights in the Diet Coke commercial.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) also said four viewers worried children could copy her behaviour.

What are these people doing watching television in the first place? 1) many adverts and television programmes include fantasy elements, which strangely aren't covered by the same health and safety concerns as REAL LIFE. 2) why are the 4 people watching television? If they fear their children might copy this then surely their children might copy allsorts of violent, disgusting and surreal things too. Why write in about this one advert when they should just be calling for a ban to all television, books, radio and stories of any kind lest their children run off into a forest leaving only a trail of breadcrumbs behind them? Sweet Jesus it is stupid.

And there are so many examples of people who instead of taking health and safety seriously and instead act like mindless jobsworths. There's an 83 year old lady told she is too old to load a dish washer, for example.

Don't these cretins understand that whilst they are dotting the i's and crossing the t's they are also leading to a backlash against health and safety, which threatens the very way of life we are now accustomed to. Grrr....

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

Monday, 15 June 2009

Gay Rights... In Housing???

We live in a country with rather draconian rules about equality. Draconian in that some times they lean a bit too heavily in favour of minority groups, in my opinion. But whatever my opinions on these things are, they do have practical benefits and us LGBT people are fairly well protected in terms of services being provided to us not being adversely affected by homophobia.

So suggestions like this one which suppose that members of the GLBT have specific needs in such areas as housing makes me a little annoyed. I can see a very strong case for disabled people (mental and physical disabilities) having specific housing needs. It goes without saying. But do LGBT people really have them? I don't think so and to even suggest such a thing beggars belief. Just because I fall in love with people of my own sex does not influence my needs for housing. One commentator valiantly suggests some issues:

"- we want our identity and lifestyle choices to be respected in our dealings with our housing provider, and its staff. We shouldn't need to anticipate homophobic attitudes, any more than we'd expect to encounter racist or sexist ones, and it shouldn't get to the stage of having to complain about it."

Erm... Yes. So does everyone! What identity? We each have our own identities and I would hope, as long as they weren't aggressive ones, that any housing association would respect everyone's right to their own identity. Lifestyle choice? Erm... do gay people have a particular lifestyle choice? I find the suggestion offensive.

All people, regardless of any other factor, should not expect to be treated rudely or badly just because of some irrational dislike on behalf of their landlord. Why should the GLBT community be particularly targeted? It should be a universal thing.

"- we want a sympathetic and effective response to homphobic hate-crime, bullying and harrassment, and neighbourhood purtsuits."

Hate crime is something I've always had a problem with. A crime is a crime. You vandalise something and say your neighbour is a slut, it's a crime. Call them queer and it's a hate crime. Does not make sense to me at all. A crime is a crime, and should be discouraged and punished as necessary. All tenants should expect sympathetic responses to bullying and harassment. Effective responses are also desirable although the way housing is currently run might be more of a pipe dream. But a universal one!

- we want recognition that domestic violence and happens in same-sex relationships just as much as straight ones, and practical help and support when it does.

Again, shouldn't this be true of everyone? Female on male violence is one particularly ignored one.

- we want recognition of the particular difficulties faced by young gay people, who are often especially vulnerable to homelessness, exploitation, abuse, and danger.

And other young people aren't??

- when we are old, we want our sexuality to be treated with dignity and respect, and not as if it and we have grown invisible.

What does this mean? Shouldn't everyone be treated with respect regardless of age and sexuality??? Do you want people to be like "Oh you're gay AND old. CONGRATULATIONS!!!" as if it is somehow noteworthy? All folks of advanced years are sexual creatures, because (shock horror) they are still the bloody same people they were when they were "young". It's not something that should ever need to be acknowledged.

Truly, it is time we all moved beyond this stupidity, and start fighting for universal rights. If one wants housing to be tailored to specific needs, then that should be done on an individual basis. You don't go installing a ramp on every disabled home as not every disabled person is in need of one. You tailor it to their needs. That should be true of everybody, not just specific "special interest" groups.

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

Sunday, 14 June 2009

It's Liberation Day!

To those British folks down in the South Atlantic, today marks 27 years since the end of the Falklands War when the British territories of the South Sandwich islands, South Georgia islands and Falkland Islands were freed from the clutches of an invasive force sent to occupy them by a military dictatorship.

As someone born after these events, and who is a bit of a liberal/leftie, I have noticed quite a lot of criticism of the Thatcher Government for their part in the events. And I'm not talking about criticism of the fact they paid little heed to warnings about an Argentinian invasion or their general handling of the war. But actual criticism of us going to war in the first place. The Socialist Party, Militant, the Communist Party, Tony Benn. All were against it because, get this, we'd never been interested in the Falklands Islanders before (sadly pretty true) and thus this war was all about a capitalist countries (that's us by the way) prestige. Maybe it was. But that is all "grand idea" sort of stuff. Back down out of the clouds of ideology, on the ground, we had a couple of thousand people who had NO ONE ELSE to look to for their right to live freely in the lands of their fathers under a Government of their choosing. If we hadn't gone, what would have become of them?

Whether Thatcher was going to war to protect the people or to protect the interests of an elite few, it doesn't really matter. Ultimately our forces defeated the invaders and liberated the islanders. Duly humbled, we decided that maybe the Falkland Islanders did deserve a bit more money and protection than before. And duly disheartened the Argentinian regime which had decided to invade the Falklands as one of it's last ditch attempts to hold power, fell to a democratic one.

This was not a imperialist adventure, this was fight for the right of self determination for the people of those islands. We must always remember that, and be proud that our country, when called upon to do it's duty, did not shy from it.

The Falklands War is one of the few wars in the history of the United Kingdom that I can truly say was a "just war". If you have a problem with that one, then the Second World War must be really difficult to stomach.

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

Thursday, 11 June 2009

UKIP Sure Knows How To Pick It's Candidates

If they are not stealing the public's money then UKIPs candidates for election are linking gay people to paedophilia. What a nice man Mr Mike Mendoza is! But more tellingly he thinks gay people don't like football.

I don't think Mike Mendoza (UKIP candidate for Hove's Goldsmid ward, and possibly PPC for Hove) is prejudiced. I believe he just lacks intelligence and has a rather limited set of life experiences. One need only to walk past most gay pubs (as opposed to the more nightclubby bars) during a big footie match and you will find it busy with fans (just the other weekend I saw our local Ye Olde Rose and Crown filled to overflowing during a match). I remember during the World Cup 2006 squashing into the old Ku Bar on Charing Cross road with a bunch of gay guys watching a match, there was no way to get to the bar, no more than a foot of space between the screen and the front of the crowd (oh, who needs memories when I blogged about it!). Now I hate football. I can't stand it. I prefer rugby myself, I'm not a crazy rugby fan but I certainly enjoy watching it over a nice pint of cider.

I certainly know plenty of gay guys who follow football, who love it, who even attend their local teams obscure fixtures. Let's not even start on lesbians and how many of them love football!!

So we are left to believe Mr Mendoza is just extremely dumb. Why are UKIP allowing him to run? Do they have an equal opportunity policy for the stupid? Can they not find someone who doesn't think your sexual preference influences your love of sport or immediately mean you have a liking for children? UKIP describe themselves as a libertarian party, and obviously Mr Mendoza is just living by that ideal of being free to express his views. I support that. But really should UKIP be putting him forward as a candidate when his views are so obviously wrong? He didn't lie, he just hasn't got a clue. What other things in life, more important things, is this man also ignorant of? Not the best person to represent the good people of Hove, me thinks.

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

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

You Know I Deplore Violence Of All Descriptions...

...but I did enjoy this video.

I know, I'm a bad person. I actually feel bad for Nick Griffin at some points, but then I think... nah he's a bastard.

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

Monday, 8 June 2009

The EU Elections

So it's the evening after the morning before. I was expecting to have seen something truly dramatic last night. I don't know whether to be relieved that really it wasn't all that exciting.

Labour's collapse was the big story of the night, with a nationwide drop in share of the vote of 6.9% and the lose of 5 MEPs. Given how bad some of the local election results were from Thursday Labour should be pretty happy with that result. Obviously they are not but I was expecting something far worse for them (10% or more).

The Tories are crowing about their first place, but surely they must be disappointed that despite the "collapse" in the Labour vote their share of the vote went up by a mere 1%. Perhaps that because of their strong showing in 2004 but still, not the overwealming cry of support that David Cameron must of being preying for.

Nor can they blame UKIP for stealing all those Labour voters as the UKIP vote only went up by a mere 0.3%. Sure staying put is a vast improvement over the predictions of their eminent demise back at the start of the year, and coming second is a great morale booster. But let's not pretend UKIPs support has suddenly surged, it's stagnated and simple stood still as Labour fell behind.

It was a disappointing night for the Lib Dems as well, losing 1.2% of their vote share and failing to make a breakthrough despite the lose of support for Labour. This certainly was not a night for Lib Dem smiles.

And yet another sad story, this time for the Green Party. Whilst their vote went up by 2.4% (the largest of the big parties) they gained no extra seats. This was despite hopes of a real swing to the Greens thanks to the failure of the mainstream parties during the expenses scandal leaving them as the only "progressive" choice as compared to the eurosceptic UKIP and the nasty BNP.

And here we find the real smiles of the night on the faces of some rather hideous people. The BNP gained two seats and slight increase in their share of the vote (thankfully not as much as the Greens which is a good sign, sort of). Thanks to mandatory postal votes in 2004 the BNPs actual vote count went down in both the regions it was victorious in, but that is a hollow victory for those of us in the anti BNP camp. The BNP got in because the turnout was so low not because their message is spreading. It's not. As with just about everyone else, their actual votes have barely changed from 2004.

The true success story of the night was the SNP's amazing growth in votes in Scotland, which is a very sad indictment of the health of our union. But smiles all round in Wales where a unionist party topped the bill (the Tories, first time I've ever smiled at a Tory victory) and smiles again at the poor performance of the EDP.

Finally in NI the DUP and Sinn Fein again got in, with the odious Sinn Fein topping the bill. It's a sorry state when the Ulster Unionist/Conservative candidate (whatever they call themselves now) is the only one I can truly be happy at seeing on the winning ticket.

God, that's the second happy thought about the Tories I've felt in this one blog post. I'm off to ritually cleanse myself with ethically sourced, soya based products ;)

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from
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Sunday, 7 June 2009

The English Democrats: Reasonable Nationalists?

The English Democrats say on their FAQs:

Politically our policies are neither left nor right. We have a commitment to a mixed economy, but also require protection for the vulnerable and would advocate developing public ownership policies for key strategic industries. We are implacably opposed to globalisation, economies based on "cheap labour" and the offshoring of English jobs.

That is certainly laudable. They also state:

"English & Proud" - that's what English Democrats are - why should it be implied that you are a "Bigot" or a "Racist" simply because you are proud of your Country - we English Democrats are simply pro English.

Here, here I say. Being patriotic for one's country (even if I don't agree on the semantics here) should never be considered racist. But then, why are they allowing the England First Party to hang out at their conferences?

England First has as their first part of their brief/manifesto (sic) the following:

1. Stop all further immigration and start a programme of voluntary repatriation of non-European immigrants back to their lands of ancestral origin

Erm... that's racist (or racialist depending on how one likes to use these words). That's really racist. "Ancestral origin"? There's being against multiculturalism and then there's being against people because of their "origin". They are rather different things both in reality and in moral terms.

But not only does the England First Party offer it's support to the English Democrat candidates in some elections (something the EDs are powerless to stop), it also is allowed to speak at ED conferences. They even get photo ops with the parties European election candidates!! See here for pictures!

I hope the EDs have issued a firm denunciation of the close relations with the EFP, otherwise their claims to be tolerant English patriots who are neither of the left or right spectrum's of politics are really very hollow indeed.

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

Saturday, 6 June 2009

English Democrats: BNP Lite

You know I don't agree with taxpayers money being used on frivolous things (such as gay pride parades) so you might think that when the newly elected Mayor of Doncaster said he was withdrawing funding from gay pride I would be quite pleased. Sadly his entire manner and the policies of his nationalist party, the English Democrats, suggest that this was not a decision brought about because of economical shrewdness but from a prejudiced position. And a good decision made for bad reasons is not something we should applaud as such bad reasoning can have ramifications in the future that are not so acceptable.

Peter Davies, of the English Democrats, said: "My policy on gays and lesbians is very simple.

"I don't think councils should be spending money on them parading through town advertising their sexuality."

Nice way of putting it there. Why did he not say "My policy on community events in Doncaster is that they are for the organisers and supporters to fund, whilst my administration has a duty to ensure taxpayers money is only spent on things that are practical and beneficial for all the residents of Doncaster"? Because he is not formulating a sound policy but scoring political points with his core constituency of backward, regressive idiots.

I look forward to him NOT paying for the almost inevitable St. Georges Day parade next year. Because otherwise this decision will be nothing but a case of homophobia rather than sound governance.

Here's a hint for English "Democrats". Next time don't have a policy on "gays and lesbians". Why the heck would you need one unless you were either biased towards or against them? Personally I think political parties should start treating the GLBT community as ordinary citizens and get over all this stupid posturing.

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

Gordon Gets A New Cabinet

I can't help looking at Gordon Brown's new Cabinet and think what a talentless bunch of has beens. It's a bit like looking at a photo of aged movie stars starring in some new ensemble number in a desperate attempt to salvage their careers.

At times over the last few years I've had a lot of sympathy for New Labour. I sometimes got the impression they actually did care about making this country a better place. But if Gordon Brown had really cared about making this country a better place he would of said this was an interim Cabinet... as he was calling a general election.

But no such luck.

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

Thursday, 4 June 2009

European Election In The United Kingdom Today

As you know I've voted Liberal Democrat already, and urge you to do the same if their policies agree with you. But even if they rub you up the wrong way, I urge you to vote today even if it is for the BNP. Democracy has been an important part of civilised society for a couple of thousand years (at least) and a fundamental force in the development of our modern way of life. Without democracy and, yes, politics we may as well go back to our tribal, ancestral way of life and forget about the whole mess. It might not be perfect but it's the best thing we've come up with yet.

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

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Articles That Hark Back To A Golden Age Of Gay Sicken Me

Respectability is the new closet according to Mark Simpson. He seems to believe that heterosexuals are a decent bunch of boring baby makers whilst gays are the evergreen rebels having sex to smite these paragons of virtue. I believe Mr Simpson may live in a fairy land. If he hasn't noticed few heterosexuals get up to anything remotely approaching respectable or decent or even boring. Why? Because, like us homos, they are human beings who fuck, who fart and who do things that one shouldn't really write about in public.

As humans those who enjoy same sex relations come in all shapes and sizes. Some are slutty, some are boring, some are sick, some are vanilla. To believe that seeking equal status among all humans (in the eyes of the law at least) is somehow to remove some of the fun or glamour out of the lifestyles of certain elements of society is to demote freedom to become a slave of fashion.

If gay marriage became legal, something I think would at least be a move in the right direction although I think we should set our sights upon total marriage freedom for all, it would not stop those who wish to continue sleeping around from doing so, or stop those who wish to live in a gay ghetto from doing just that. I was there once too, I loved it! I enjoyed the seedier side of things, the random sex, the thrill of the scene. But my tastes changed. Does that mean I betrayed my sexuality? No. It just means I wanted something else. Not better. Not worse. Not more respectable. Just different. And I want the freedom to do just as anyone else can. Marry, live my own life, be an equal citizen of the United Kingdom. Is that putting myself in a closet? NO!

The only closet I see around here is the one Mark thinks all gay men and women should be thrown into: his own monochrome, and imaginary, version of the gay scene (which in reality is itself amazingly diverse and interesting). Well sorry Mr Simpson but we are all different and to believe that that one sort of lifestyle will suit us all is equivalent to suggesting everyone should drive a black Ford Mondeo just because you think that's the best car in the world. It's self centred, and pretty daft.

Although it is fun to imagine demanding lifestyles of certain groups. Mmm... all bodybuilders should NEVER wear clothes. All people who like to talk on mobile phones in public toilets should lie down in the middle of the road and die. Hmm... we could go on for days...

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