Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Niggles, odds and sods

After a long hiatus, I'm back. Blogging takes up a surprising amount of time and energy, but now I'm no longer spending that energy elsewhere I can come back to this. And what a surprise, I'm going to start by ranting!

Use of language and the economy. Gordon Brown, cursed be he, started this during his failed election campaign by using words to the effect of "reducing tax take is taking money out of the economy". This is a very telling attitude from the hard-left statists; they appear to believe that the "economy" is purely whatever money the government controls. The private sector, which creates wealth, gets nary a mention. Predictably enough, the "less tax take = less money in the economy" mantra has been taken up by the left as their new stick to attack Conservative economic proposals.

The coalition government. It's an interesting development and one that neutralises the ability of Labour to attack it thanks to the Lib Dem involvement. There are still many at grassroots level who struggle with the idea that their "natural partners" are now in direct opposition. Cameron and Co are also dealing with the deficit practically and sensibly, including by asking the public for their suggestions. The BBC's carefully moderated Have Your Say forum is, in its usual anti-Tory stance, against the ridiculous notion that a government should actually listen to its people.

However, all is not well with the coalition: Cameron's attempts to limit the government to a five year fixed term and requiring a 55% vote of MPs in the Commons to pass a motion of no confidence is very worrying. Not only does it smack of power consolidation for its own sake, but it's also a dangerous attempt at tinkering with the very constitution of Britain. Even Lady Thatcher is disquieted by this.

The Cumbria massacre and the media response. Again the BBC come under fire, this time for raising the notion that Britain's ridiculously illiberal gun control laws (second only to China and North Korea in severity) should be tightened even further. Firearms and shooting are an integral part of British society - a century ago there were no prohibitions on private ownership of firearms whatsoever. Since the end of WW1, the Establishment has progressively banned more and more types of firearm as well as granting the police powers to ban any firearm they deem "especially dangerous".

The licensing system itself, when properly administered, is one of the safest of its kind in the world; but it does not eliminate risk altogether. Nothing can. In Cumbria, a man with no previous history of instability just snapped overnight. Neither the police nor the licensing system can be blamed for his decision to go on the rampage. The response once he had started shooting can be examined, yes, but the law has already been tightened way beyond that of any other Western country. Leave it alone.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

So just who are these people?

Most, if not all, shooters who take an interest in their sport's future will have heard of the Gun Control Network. This shadowy organisation is chaired by Gill Marshall-Andrews (above), wife of the hard-left Labour MP Bob Marshall-Andrews. Up until the dissolution of the Firearms Consultative Committee in January 2004, Mrs Marshall-Andrews held a seat on the FCC, which was otherwise comprised of delegates representing the legal profession, the firearms trade, law enforcement and administration, and the national shooting bodies.

The Gun Control Network itself is diametrically opposed to any private ownership or use of 'guns' in all their guises. This opposition extends to airsofting, where players dress up in old military gear and shoot each other with BB guns in a similar manner to paintball. The GCN are frequently given column inches by the press where lawful and legitimate shooting comes under scrutiny, such as in this (admittedly old) Independent article. Note that Marshall-Andrews uses emotive and exaggerated language without bothering to mention examples; a tactic the group has consistently used in statements to the press since.

Googling the GCN comes up with their website, which I refuse to link to for reasons that will become plain. None of their articles are bylined. Their Education Pack, intended for use in schools, was the subject of a thorough fisking by an Israeli commentator who described its contents as "hate speech". You will also fail to find anything on the GCN site that allows you to join. They are a closed shop.

After a post on Tory Bear's blog which highlighted an attempt by Gill Marshall-Andrews to smear the Young Britons Foundation in her official capacity as chair of the GCN, I started researching the GCN's actual membership. Imagine my utter astonishment when I came across the GCN's Flickr page. On there, they admit that they have just four members.

Is there any group of comparable size that has such a voice in the media or at the highest levels of the legislative process? There are thousands of groups of individuals up and down the country but none of those are regularly asked for quotations to be published in the national media, or hold posts on Home Office committees, or agitate against a safe and legitimate sport.

Now is the time for this pathetically tiny and secretive organisation to be exposed for what it is: four bigots who can't justify themselves other than by manically repeating 'guns are evil'. They've even jumped on the fake charity bandwagon under a new name: the Infer Trust. This is a registered charity (No. 1080791) which seems to be nothing more than a rebranding of the GCN with a new website. Both groups quote the same London PO box number for postal contact, which should raise eyebrows.

Expose them for the minority of demagogues that they are, and their particular brand of hate speech shall wither and die on the vine. 

UPDATE: Just to re-emphasise, Gill Marshall-Andrews is the wife of Bob Marshall-Andrews MP. Perhaps this is the real reason behind the GCN receiving so much media publicity?

Monday, 1 March 2010

Some light relief

It's been a while, my loyal reader(s). This is in no small measure due to my overwhelming apathy in the face of lots of essential tasks, plus various health complications that still have yet to resolve themselves.

With the excuses for my bone idleness made, I might as well get on with the meat of this post: bawdy poetry.

Now, having spent my entire time at school forced to study poetry, and my entire undergraduate career avoiding poetry study like the plague, you can guess what my thoughts are on the subject of anything with greater literary merit than Betjeman's entirely accurate verses on Slough. Exceptions do exist, though, and the best one on this particular subject is the ballad of Eskimo Nell. This is a personal favourite of mine: being long, pointlessly filthy and eminently suitable for recitation in all forms of company (well ...).

As much as I'd like to reproduce the whole thing here, I shan't. Instead I'll let you click the link and read the epic story of the Canadian whore who defeats the oversized Yank and his dago mate. But do allow me to share one or two of the better verses...

Now, Dead-Eye Dick was breathing quick
With lecherous snorts and grunts,
So forty butts were bared to view,
And likewise forty cunts.

Now, forty butts and forty cunts,
If you can use your wits,
And if you're slick, at arithmetic,
Makes exactly eighty tits.


Back to the land where they understand
What it means to fornicate,
Where even the dead sleep two in a bed
And the babies masturbate.

"Back to the land of the grinding gland,
Where the walrus plays with his prong,
Where the polar bear wanks off in his lair,
That's where they'll sing this song.

If I was Canadian, I'd be proud of this virtuous contribution to the English poetic canon. Doesn't it swell your trousers and make your scrotum burst with pride, that people similarly blessed with the gift of being brought up speaking the language of Shakespeare, Milton and the bloke wot wrote Vindaloo, men who were truly Men and appreciated the delicate balance between metre and subject ....

No, who the fuck am I kidding. This is real life poetry, the sort you find in rugby clubs up and down the land. It's got the one essential feature of a real poem: it rhymes! Ask any primary schoolkid what the most important bit of a poem is and they'll tell you it's got to rhyme. From the mouths of babes, ladies and gentlemen. Also, it's nice'n'easy to read. None of these long words like I keep on using. No overlong sentences (lines, stanzas, whatever the technical term is) to keep stealing your breath. Just simple, honest, direct and above all, descriptive verse. Everyone likes listening to a story, after all.

Out of interest boredom, I tried running "Eskimo Nell" through JSTOR, which is like Google but terminally, infernally dull. In the words of Grant Naylor (the Red Dwarf scriptwriting duo), if you changed all the words in all the books in the British Library to the word "dull" and then read every single book out loud in a boring monotone, you begin to come close to how utterly shit JSTOR is. Anyway, search Eskimo Nell through it, and the first result is (I kid you not):

"Properties and Preservation of Ethnographical Semi-Tanned Leather" (link for anyone with JSTOR access ... not that I've read it, or intend to)

What? WHAT?! What does that even mean? Does it, indeed, have any discernible meaning? Could it actually be a randomly generated set of words designed to baffle the ordinary man? How do you "semi-tan" leather anyway - surely it is or it isn't? And above all, how the hell does this relate to a filthy ballad supposedly written by Noel Coward in 1919?

It's true. Academia really has vanished up its own arse. I was half-hoping to find some scholarly analysis of it that I could rip to shreds, but it seems that genteel professors across the world have scorned this fabulous piece of writing in favour of incomprehensible bullshit like No.6 on JSTOR's list of results for 'Eskimo Nell', gloriously titled "An Appreciation of the Pioneer of Post-Distanciationalist Politometrics". Honestly, you just can't make this up.

Monday, 25 January 2010

I'm a Photographer, Not A Terrorist!

On Sunday, the I'm a Photographer Not A Terrorist campaign organised a rally of photographers, both professional and amateur, who gathered in Trafalgar Square at midday.

The protest was against police abuse of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which the photographers claimed has become a blanket measure to harrass and intimidate photographers lawfully going about their business.

Between 1,500 and 2,000 people gathered in Trafalgar Square, almost all armed with a camera. As usual, some fringe groups including the Socialist Worker propaganda sheet and the blogger Old Holborn were present, but the majority seemed to be ordinary photographers, from all walks of life.

In contrast to the usual atmosphere at London-based protests, this was a very civilised and almost silent affair. This may or may not have been related to the near-total absence of the police, who were represented by one City of London constable and three PCSOs, who unwisely took it upon themselves to attempt an arrest in the middle of the crowd.
With the exception of that one incident, which was met by hundreds of cameras, nothing else of note could be said to have happened. The group began dispersing to the pub at 12.30pm, although a few hundred hung around to take pictures of each other. There was some light press coverage of the day.

 More: Independent, BBC

Friday, 15 January 2010

Happy New Year, and such

Having forgotten the password to this and spent yonks getting it reset (real life in the way, donchaknow!), there will be updates soon! Unfortunately university is getting rather busy at the moment, so they may not be the indepth stories (like the protests one below ....) that I want to be writing.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Fresh round of protests over the new Harrow mosque

In a repeat of the events of September, the protest group Stop the Islamification of Europe (SIOE) once again attempted to organise a rally outside the skyline-dominating Harrow Mosque. The group’s leader, Stephen Gash, had previously claimed that he would bring 2,000 anti-mosque protestors to the location.

Instead, on the ground were a pitiful 20 people who hid their faces behind scarves, hoodies and a copy of the Daily Mail. The police, mindful of the September protest which turned into a barely-contained riot, had laid down barricades and were surrounding the area in force. Mounted units, dogs, a helicopter and riot vans were all in attendance, along with British Transport Police at all local bus and railway stations.

A number of extreme-left groups, including the Socialist Party, the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks, United Against Fascism and Workers’ Liberty gathered to oppose the SIOE demonstrators, including a hysterical woman on a PA system who felt it necessary to shout about concentration camps. Other, more moderate organisations including Unite the Union and the Brent branch of the Universities and Colleges’ Lecturers' Union, were also present, as were local Muslims from the mosque itself, led by Imam Ghulam Rabbani.

The day passed without incident, primarily because of the very heavy police presence.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The Rise and Rise of the European Superstate

Today, the European Union officially comes into being as a legal political entity. It has a President and a High Representative for Foreign Affairs. It has an internal police force who can remove citizens from their homelands to face trial and imprisonment in foreign countries, via a legal mechanism specifically designed to "abolish the political stage of extradition" that can be invoked even when a person is tried and convicted in absentia.

The political elite of this new superstate are selected behind closed doors, not elected by those they purport to represent. Their laws are decided in a parliament that purports to represent hundreds of millions. That legislation is then implemented directly by subservient politicians at national level, with deadlines set and enforceable penalties if they refuse to comply. In the UK, most of this is achieved via secondary legislation such as Statutory Instruments and Regulations, which bypass the normal Parliamentary debating process.

The last national referendum held on membership of the EU was in 1975, meaning that nobody in the UK under the age of 52 has ever had a say on the replacement of Parliament by this unaccountable organisation. Who voted for the creation of a new state over our heads? Why would we want this new layer of taxpayer-funded bureaucracy leaching ever more of our hard-earned wages from our hands?

We can't even hold it to account. Its Supreme Court answers to nobody and cannot be held in check by democratically elected personnel. Merely by writing this article, I am committing blasphemy against the EU - this is the word clearly inferred by the EU's Spanish inquisitor-general in the linked Spectator article.

Speaking of legal systems, the EU also seeks to impose the alien napoleonic legal code upon us. The napoleonic code works from the basic premise that "everything is forbidden unless strictly authorised in law", in direct opposition to English common law where "nothing is forbidden unless strictly banned in law". Further, the EU's legal systems are written around the inquisitorial system of justice, where the judge researches and considers the evidence in a court case by himself. The system used in Britain and America is known as the adversarial system, where the right to trial by a jury of one's peers and the right of appeal are enshrined in law.

This terrifying juggernaut rolls on, blatting private citizens out of its way like bugs squashed on a windshield.

On a completey unrelated note, I've just heard New Young Pony Club's latest track "Lost A Girl" on the radio. Cracking stuff!