Blasphemer! That’ll be €25,000 please

Icon for censorship
Thou shalt not have an opinion

Ireland has just, as of Jan 1st, put into place a law that the UK effectively ditched in 2008. It is now illegal to blaspheme against any religion on penalty of a very painful direct debit from your bank account. Up to €25,000. Ouchies.

Freedom of expression? Nope, no more. In fact, this “law” is just setting itself up to be repealed. It’s difficult to practice some religions without defaming (and therefore blaspheming) against others as their beliefs are at odds with each other. Who decides what classes as a religion in Ireland? If someone writes bad press about Scientology will they be fined? And how about the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

The Irish Atheists have put up a web page containing 26 blasphemous quotes (at the time of writing, their server was down but Google have a cached copy of the page or there’s a re-published version on their blog) by people such as Jesus Christ, the Pope, Salman Rushdie, Bjork and – oh – the Irish Minister For Justice who put this law into force in the first place.

This law protects religions, but criminalises any body who isn’t religious if they voice their own opinions. Some may even argue that school textbooks containing information on evolution could, technically, be blasphemy. Are they going to take all the publishers to court? As a couple of the quotes on that page mention, Jesus himself blasphemed against the Jews. The quote itself is in the Bible. So they should all be removed from public reach and the printers fined appropriately.

Am I being over-reactive? I don’t think so. I’m purely saying that if you’re going to act on the law then it has to be a level playing field. Everyone must be treated equally regardless of why they’re blaspheming.

After all, why should some people be protected for having religious views at the detriment of a completely harmless group who now face prosecution simply for not having a belief at all?

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Say goodbye to your internet

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 11:  Secretary of ...
Secretary for Business and out-of-touch sleazebag

People my age will remember the old days when someone would tell you off for something, and the response would be to tut and say “it’s a free country”.

Well those days are coming to an end and there’s no worse example of why than the new Digital Economy Bill unveiled today. How do you fancy these for powers:

  • Your internet can be cut off if someone in your household is suspected of filesharing. No evidence or proof is required nor formal charge need be brought
  • ISPs are forced to snitch on you or face a fine of up to £250,000
  • Accused of filesharing? £50,000 please – even though it might not be you that’s done it
  • These rules not working? The the Business Secretary (an unelected role) can make up any new punishments and regulations as they see fit. Just for a laugh.
  • Eavesdroppers funded by “rightsholders” (that’ll be our friends in the movie and music companies) who will be able to freely poke around your internet traffic, data, usage patterns and then demand that you remove files, block websites and so forth. Privacy? What privacy?

Then there’s some stuff about a rejigging of the games ratings system which actually isn’t that bad as it takes the BBFC out of the loop. This means, hopefully, that games may be more evenly rated and unlikely to be banned.

What’s amusing is that this whole mess is the brainchild of one Peter Mandelson. Mandie came up with this great idea after a free holiday in Corfu paid for by Geffen. Who happen to be one of the aforementioned rightsholders. Of course, he’s saying this is coincidence.

We are being told to behave ourselves and to follow rules and not steal stuff by a man who was forced to step down from government not once but twice due to his inability not to be a sleazy little dick.

This whole bill is a travesty. It’s the digital equivalent – worse, even – than speed cameras where you’re guilty until proven innocent. The only winners here are the near-sighted media corporations who are too old-fashioned to embrace a new technology and instead seek to stifle it while they continually fail to catch up.

Please, check out the articles linked below. And if you feel as I do then go to the Number10 website and sign the petition. Of course, this makes the assumption that the government we elected actually give the faintest damn about what we have to say.

Not something I think most of us believe to be the case these days.

If you at all doubt the government’s integrity or my attack on it then bear in mind that when they announced the Bill, it was with the statement that it had 99% support of British ISPs. Have a look at the man who started the petition. He’s TalkTalk‘s head of strategy and development. BT, if I recall correctly, threatened legal action if it went through. The ISP industry as a whole announced it’s “disappointment” with the wording of the Bill as it stands.

Hardly 9% support, let alone 99%.

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Are you fit for the UK?

A British passport with the name of European U...
Do you deserve one of these?

@LDN on Twitter pointed out the following link today, asking readers – UK citizens and not – to click away and give it a go. I don’t know how many replies they got (“inundated” was the word used), but not a single person passed.

The link? A trial version of the UK Citizenship test which those applying for UK citizenship have to pass.

There are 24 questions with a passmark of 75%. I got nine (38%) and therefor failed miserably. I reckon I’m fairly well informed about my country but there you go.

My issue is the relevance of some of the questions to potential citizens. I mean, what on earth does it matter whether or not you know how many people claimed to be Muslims in the UK in 1981? Really? Knowing the unposted national speed limit is getting there – but only of complete relevance to drivers. Anyone who doesn’t have a drive will learn this as part of the driving license procedure.

In addition, on going through the correct answers at the end, I am informed that the questions I got wrong on the European Parliament should have been “B and D”. However, I was only given A, B and C to choose from.

Needs more work. And thought. And care. But then again, it’s been dreamed up by one of our mad government departments so one can hardly expect it to be remotely sensible.

If I fail the official test, will my government help fund my move to Hanoi or Bangkok please?

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Should we egg him on?

Large and larger
Ammunition, not foodstuff

Oh joy of joys. Much as I don’t tend to follow the violence route, it was a giggle to see Nick Griffin being egged by protestors outside of Parliament today. His petty bleatings afterwards that they weren’t allowed to protest against recognised political parties (erm… yes they are, Nick) only overshadowed by the way he ran away like a scared bunny.

I don’t like Labour. I don’t like John Prescott. But I do still admire the guy for sending a very impressive punch into the jaw of the guy who egged him on the election trail a few years back.

Nick (or, as far as he’s concerned, his bodyguards) then proceeded to drive at two of the protesters who are now in hospital. According to Griffin, it’s their fault for getting in front of his car. In the same way that WWII was the Jews‘ fault. Not that any of them were killed – not according to Griffin the Holocaust-denier anyway.

Oh, yes. And let’s not forget his claims that the protest was funded and organised by the Labour Party. And supported by the rest of the political system. And that the police were ordered to stand clear and not interfere.

Of course there is absolutely no evidence of this whatsoever. Griffin can’t seem to get it into his strangely-shaped skull that people are capable of despising him and what he stands for entirely on their own. They don’t need organised political aid to realise he’s a fetid little rat.

Mind you, we are talking about the BNP – the party who, a week ago, claimed their web servers had been hit by one of the largest DoS attacks ever organised. Which was not even an exaggeration, it was simply plain wrong. Evidence points to a cockup at the server end or simpy that the system couldn’t cope with an increase in demand very shortly after their pathetic party political broadcast had just been on television.

I swear, the BNP are more paranoid than a room full of conspiracy nuts high on marijuana who happened to be in a certain tunnel in Paris when a certain car crashed.

Nick, it’s not paranoia when everyone really does hate your guts.

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Democracy FAIL

Democracy FAIL
Democracy FAIL

You know, it’s sad to waste a vote by not using it. It’s even sadder to throw it away on something you know nothing about. But it’s disgraceful to use it to support a cause that tens of thousands of people lost their lives fighting against so recently.

Somehow the BNP gained three council seats and two European Parliamentary seats in the recent election. What a travesty. Fat Hitler and his little SS youth now get a say in how our country is run. I don’t think some people realise exactly how much influence Europe has over the laws that end up controlling our country. And thanks to the nigh-on one million people who voted for them, these jumped-up fascists are going to help shape (or more likely warp) them.

I heard a couple of soundbites on the BBC earlier and they pretty much summed up what I honestly believe make up the entire BNP voting contingent: protest-voters who just didn’t think, and the racist brain-dead brigade.

The former:

“I just wanted a change after all the rubbish our government have been giving us recently. All the expenses stuff and the economy – we just need to go in a completely different direction.”

Not the exact wording (sorry, I was in the car), but spoken in a forthright “I’m being interviewed for the radio, hear me roar” kind of manner. Someone who wanted to sound like they’ve done the right thing… and they haven’t. Yes, we need to kick the government into touch. Yes, we realise the Conservative Party are just as bad… but there’s “going in a different direction” and there’s “throwing away our dignity”.

This is the political version of cutting off your nose to spite your face. If the council says you can’t build a 10′ high fence round your property, you don’t put a minefield in as an act of protest. You find a middle ground. See how far you can go – maybe 6′. Then paint it bright green with pink flowers. That makes a point without causing your poodle to explode when it goes out for a pee.

Category two was just unreal. The woman quoted honestly sounded like she had to think really hard to remember to breathe – incidentally something I doubt she used her nose for. At least her windows at home would be clean. I reckon she licked them on a regular basis:

“It’s cos of the white British workers, innit? It’s just not fair. There’s no jobs for them and it’s not fair. I mean, it’s just not fair is it? Havin’ no jobs for white people. It’s not fair!”

The last three words delivered with as much a petulant whine as when my little cousin didn’t want to come in for dinner yesterday. Only she wasn’t incorrectly blaming every non-white, non-British person for the unfairness.

So the two main sets of BNP voters – the disillusioned and the deluded. Person A, I don’t think realised exactly how filthy the option he chose was. Person B, I don’t think realised how to spell “X” and had to get help in the voting booth.

Still in any doubt as to the “calibre” (oh, how loosely I use that term) of the rancid filth who now have a toehold (and an income from) one of our major governing bodies? Well, have a read about Andrew Brons, the BNP MEP from Yorkshire and the Humber. Aren’t you glad that we’re now partially represented by a man who believes that bombing synagogues is a great idea apart from the fact that it wouldn’t be good PR? Well done, Yorks and Humber.

What’s perhaps worst is that all of this could have been avoided if only recent governments had done their job. Immigration is a huge issue and something that concerns the public in general. However, it’s an issue that’s been at best ignored and at worst just messed about with like a plaything over the last few years.

I’m sure I’ve stated here and I will continue to do so – I am not against immigration. We’re a nation of immigrants. We’d be a poorer country without it, and these days to some extent we need it. Courtesy of bottom-feeders like Voter B above, we have estates full of drug-addled scum who have no interest in working a day in their lives. So foreigners get the work. Qualified dotors from India and Sri Lanka take medical positions. Poles pack envelopes. Chinese people collect mussels (OK, maybe not the best example).

But the thing is – good on them. Because they’re prepared to work. Imagine how hard it is to get a medical degree in the UK with loans and so forth behind you. Now imagine how much harder it must be in, say, Sri Lanka (which incidentally has a very highly-regarded medical school). I’d happily be treated by a doctor from Colombo. Just because the guy’s skin is a different colour doesn’t make him a poor GP.

Given the tax burden the government has been building up on high earners in the UK, we’ve suffered a brain drain. IT contractors left in a mass exodus around ten years ago as they flocked to the US. They had to be replaced from somewhere. Other high earners will follow. If it means filling the gaps with Indians or Americans or Aussies or Thais, I don’t care. If they’ve worked hard enough to be qualified then they’re good enough.

They’re people.

Another issue which has caused anger is positive discrimination and this is something I also have a severe dislike of. However, once again, this is a policy issue that needs addressed. It is not a race issue. There are two situations – one where non-British or non-whites actively take advantage (“play the race card”) and those where it happens unwittingly.

An example of the latter first. There are three candidates for a position. Two score 80% in exams, one scores 75%. But he’s coloured and the “rules” state that there must be a certain quotient of coloured people in this position so he gets the promotion. This guy may not even know about this. He just knows he sat the exams, passed and got the pay rise. As such, how is this his fault?

The thing is, this isn’t just a race issue. It happens across the gender divide as well. Plainly put, it’s wrong. An example I give is that I don’t want a blind one-legged black woman climbing a ladder to rescue me from a burning house because government policy states that the local force had to hire a disabled coloured lesbian to balance the minority books. I want the best, most able person they have doing the job – whatever they look like and however their parts fit together.

On the other hand, we have – as I put it earlier – the “race card” crowd. These people I do take issue with but again it’s because we let them, but it’s not every single non-white who’s guilty of it. The problem is, we’ve become too soft. By shouting “you’re only arresting me because I’m black!” as you’re dragged off for punching your girlfriend in the street (or for assaulting a traffic warden, as happened a few years ago in Bradford) you’re being an idiot. You’re making your own people look like fools.

But the worst part of this is that it works. We back off. We’re scared of causing an upset. Why? By being lenient we’re saying “hey, it works” and the problem perpetuates.

Everyone should be equal in the eyes of the law. This means punishing people for the same offences in the same way, regardless of colour. If someone told you that you could get off with a warning by claiming you were only arrested for being ginger, or overweight, or wearing a particular football shirt would you go for it? Of course you would. Well, by being lenient to avoid being called racist, we’re sending out the same message to non-whites.

The thing is, not all of them will use it. Unfortunately, the few who do give their entire community a bad name. It’s like saying every white kid who wears a hoodie is a junkie who wants to steal your cash and happy-slap you. It’s just not true.

We don’t need to treat Asians, South Asians, Africans, etc as different. That’s what’s caused the problem. Equality means making things equal. Not trying to redress a perceived imbalance by tipping the scales in the opposite direction. If we don’t positively discriminate and a group complain too much – and in an illegal manner – come down hard on them. If they don’t like it then they are welcome to “go back where they came from”.

However, if people are prepared to live by our laws, to speak our language (another belief of mine – live long term in a country, learn the language) and to work for a living then I don’t give a damn where you’re from. Welcome. Live here. Work alongside me.

On the other hand, if you want to proclaim your hatred for other people because they look different, or because they’re taking a job you’re too lazy to do – get the hell out of my country.

This means you, Nick Griffin. You and all the white trash sucking up our tax money with free accommodation because we’re too soft to tell you “no”.

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