Labour = rubbish

Well, Labour got well and truly (and deservedly) ****** in the local elections recently. How many years have they been in power? Twelve? Sixteen? I honestly can’t remember. The one thing I’m sure of is that we’re no better off – in fact, I’d argue worse – than we were under the last Conservative government. Thing is, they’re both shite – opposite sides of the same scratched, worthless coin.

Labour’s response to try and win voters back for the upcoming General Election? To scrap plans to tax people for the amount of rubbish they throw out. Oh, and a few more bribes like possibly fixing fuel tax and stuff. Not actually changing anything important, just dropping things they already know will be wildly unpopular.

This will be a rail against Labour. But you know, I honestly believe that if the Conservatives had taken power 8 years ago I can be pretty positive that I’d be complaining about them. Politicians are so far out of touch with reality, it’s unreal. Brown’s claim he “feels the hurt they feel” in regards to the general voting public is a complete sham. As if. The guy’s on almost £200,000 a year as Prime Minister, rent free, and with a guaranteed career on a board of directors somewhere when he steps down (or gets kicked out, the fat useless bastard).

Financially, the UK did well for a while. House prices rose which is great for people who already have homes. I was one of the fortunate ones who bought at the right time. Then friends of mine got screwed by the vast, sharp rise. Looks like they’re dropping now, but not far enough for first-time buyers.

Labour used to be the party of choice for students. Until their promise of free education turned out to be a brazen lie as they removed all funding for students and turned the whole higher education system into a fee- and loans-based mess. Way to go. University for the rich, while the poor can sweep the streets and empty the rubbish bins.

This whole concept of “spin” which seems to have been introduced by Blair has infiltrated every segment of the government and public services as well. The ones I’m most familiar with are the ones relating to the health, police and education services. All this red tape and manipulation of figures just seems to be designed to keep bean-counters in a job. Forget the police, medical staff and teachers (and those they look after, protect and care for) – they’re very much secondary in making the government look good.

I won’t list all the blogs I read, but there are plenty out there for the emergecy services. Not one of them thinks the government methods for collating data are useful. Or accurate. But they do make the crime figures seem better – often by just giving nice friendly names to old things.

Teachers now have completely conflicting sets of guidelines. Recent reports state that the paperwork and mess caused by an interfering government is losing staff from the teaching career path as they get pissed off and leave. These people took up this job to teach, not to fill in bloody forms and give exams to 7 year-olds.

Then there’s the fun with taxes such as inheritance tax. Spend your life paying tax on your income, savings, purchases… and then whoever inherits your stuff from you has to pay a tax on it. Somewhat unfair if it’s, say, the family house. Which is now worth a fortune because of the mad house prices. So they have to sell it to pay the tax, and find themselves homeless as they can’t afford anything else with the money left over.

Crime’s gone mad as we have no decent punishment for lawbreakers. The jails are full, and sentences – when they are handed out – are far, far too lenient. Introducing pointless things like ASBOs have been an utter waste of time. Have they really prevented anything?

Frankly, I can’t wait to see the Labour party kicked soundly out of office when the time comes. But who do we replace them with? At the last General Election I was home for, I went through the manifestos for the main three parties. Labour and Conservative were so similar and in their uselessness that it beggars belief they’re two separate parties. LibDem are OK, but perhaps too liberal.

And now I find out that the BNP have managed to get a seat on the London Assembly. If that keeps up, we’ll be blaming all the black people for the state of the country, not the shitty politicians.

The truly independent parties have a lot going for them, but sadly never get enough of a vote to make a difference. People follow the herd or follow family. They vote for who they’ve always voted for, or who they’re familiar with. I know of people who have run for a position as MP because they genuinely cared and got pretty much nowhere. The lucky ones have gained their deposit back.

It’s pretty apparent from this post and many others on this blog that I’d had it with the UK. We were a great nation many years ago – and not that many years ago. Now we’re a mess. Chavs are all over the place. If it’s not them, it’s yardies. Or whatever. Every city, town and village has its own scum that we can’t keep in line. The pound’s dropped against the Euro and other currencies. Respect other countries have for us is pretty much at an all-time low. Immigration policy is a mess.

Taxes and fees for people trying to run their own businesses are insane as well. The red tape, potholes and so forth are more than any small business owner can realistically be asked to undertake themselves. All the loopholes where they can save a few extra pounds are being closed. This cost the UK a very large number of highly qualified IT staff not long after Labour took power and pushed one motion through. Most of them went to the US where their skills were actually valued.

I’ve mentioned before that I am looking for a way out. I hate to leave somewhere I’m so familiar with and so deeply-rooted (well, I was until 2 years ago) but really it seems the only way to have a chance of a decent life for myself and (hopefully, in the future) my kids is to go somewhere else. Canada I’ve heard good things about. Oz is nice, but starting to get similar problems to the UK in places. NZ is lovely but has some bad memories for me now.

I guess we’ll see. But right now it seems that the UK government is doing as much as it can to piss off, annoy, frustrate and ultimately lose all of its best citizens to other countries.

Enjoy a bit of slap and tickle? Well, you’re not allowed the slap any more

Patellar reflex. Note that this image includes an interneuron in the pathway of the patellar reflex for purposes of illustration. The inhibitory component of the reflex involving the hamstring muscle is not shown.

At least, not if another ridiculous Labour government motion gets passed (which it likely will). As a knee-jerk reaction to a horrible news story five years ago, David Blunkett (then the home secretary) promised to ban anyone from owning “violent” sexual images. The story in case was that of a poor woman, Jane Longhurst, who was brutally raped and murdered by a mental case called Graham Coutts.

Coutts had been visiting some pretty hardcore sites, and obviously that made him go off and try it all for himself. The same way that every teenager who’s played Grand Theft Auto has gone on to steal cars, shoot police and shag prostitutes. Oh, wait. No. They haven’t. One respondent to the original post is a licensed, certified, qualified psychologist who’s taught in this exact field for 10 years. I’d say he knows more about the workings of the brain that most politicians. How come he knows that over 1000 studies have been done that provide no evidence that viewing something increases the subject’s likelihood to do it when the government – with all their resources – can’t find those same studies?

The motion was put forward due to an appeal from Jane’s mother to her MP who forwarded her concerns to Blunkett. Who, incidentally, has been blind since birth and at the risk of sounding terribly politically incorrect, wouldn’t know what it’s like to look at porn anyway.

The bill is stupidly worded, including horrendously vague descriptions of what is and isn’t allowed. An example of such is “an act which threatens or appears to threaten a person’s life”. As one respondent on the BBC page says, that makes at least one scene with Xenia Onatopp in the Bond film Goldeneye illegal.

It also drags up another insane British habit of making it legal to do things, but illegal to view other people doing them. Within the new law, it’d still be fine to tie your partner up, spank them and even draw blood; to throttle them; to suspend them from chains; to pierce them; and so on. As long as they’re consenting and no permanent harm results. Some people get off on that (I know some of them) and fine. No harm done in the long term and it’s a private thing.

However, if those couples (or groups) were to take some photos of each other or look at pictures of some of their friends that they had taken, this couple is breaking the potential new law. This is in line with having an age of consent of 16, but not allowing people to legally look at porn until they’re 18. Madness. You can do it, but not look at other people doing the exact same thing.

I replied to the comments on the BBC post listed above, and I’m paraphrasing from that to save repeating myself now.

I’m scouting out Oz and NZ again later this year with a view to moving permanently. I’m not a lawbreaker, and I’m feeling more and more restricted by a government in my own country that thinks it knows better than I do or that experts do about everything.

The whole situation is a knee-jerk reaction to a horrible incident that – let’s face it – would never have prevented the crime in the first place. If Coutts was prepared to murder, then he’d have had no qualms about illegally acquiring those same images. In fact, making them illegal may even have increased the thrill for him making the matter worse.

Victoria (one of the respondents on the BBC post), please check out the description of the videos you’re saying show people being raped. They don’t. They show consenting adults acting. The same way that Sylvester Stallone didn’t really kill all those people in those Rambo films, and Alan Rickman didn’t – in real life – kill a Japanese businessman to steal money from the safe of his high-rise building.

It’s porn. Yes. It’s sex. Yes. It’s entertainment. Nobody is hurt (beyond their decision to be so) in its manufacture. The world has a seedy side. I’m not saying embrace it, but I’m saying deal with it.

Having said that, how on earth would this be policed anyway? The powers that be can’t even figure out how to trace illegal film and music downloads. How on earth would they trace every single house in the UK where a consenting adult had downloaded images which may or may not be classed as illegal under a hastily-written, poorly worded law?

I know I’ve gone off on one again, but this is very much one of my pet bugbears. We’re supposed to live in a free society, a free country. As long as you don’t hurt anyone else (in this case anyone who’s not consenting) then there shouldn’t be any issues. I’m very anti-religious. Not just non-religious, but pretty much an active non-agree’er in the whole thing. Yet I would fight anyone who tried to take away the right of someone to go to any church they chose if they lived in Britain. It’s their right. Just as it’s any private individual’s right to enjoy whatever kinky stuff they like behind closed doors as long as nobody else is affected, hurt, etc., etc.

Yet over the last few years, the country’s become more and more clamped down in what is allowed as if these things have never existed before.

I’d say it’s like going back to Victorian values, but they were filthier than most British folk these days.