The Rambles of Neil Monnery

Another pointless voice in the vast ocean that is the interweb

Archive for June, 2011

Theft from bin woman given conditional discharge

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Most of you will remember the story a few months ago of the 22 year-old from Chelmsford who had been arrested and charged with theft from a bin after a supermarket threw out lots of frozen food after a power cut in store.

Sasha Hall lived about the Tesco Express in Chelmsford and when the shop chucked out so much good stock the bin was inundated with visitors who plundered the goods. The unlucky Hall was the only one who was identified and subsequently arrested and charged with theft.

She denied theft but admitted handling stolen goods at a hearing at the end of May. A guilty plea for possession of a small quantity of cannabis was also entered. The judge has given the supermarket worker a conditional discharge with the theft case being left on file for twelve months. Should she not break any of the conditions then that charge will be scrubbed from her record.

It brings an end to what was a pointless case and yet another example of a jobsworth desperate to cause trouble. Considering according to multiple reports locally at the time there were several people involved in taking food from this bin in question, it makes you think if this was a personal vendetta from someone who didn’t like Miss Hall.

It is a joke but I am sure in this current era where people are too scared to be seen to be soft on crime I am a bit surprised she wasn’t given the death penalty.

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June 21st, 2011 at 6:38 pm

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Southend Airport set for two more airlines this autumn

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Two more airlines are set to join EasyJet as the expansion of Southend Airport is reaching second gear. The Southend Echo are reporting today that Join Airlines and ViaTriskel both have ambitious plans to run flights out of London’s sixth airport.

The Dutch airline Join Airlines plan to have a route map including destinations such as Manchester, Amsterdam, Cologne and Bonn in Germany, Caen in France and Gronningen in northern Holland. Whilst ViaTriskel which hasn’t even started operating yet has a route map plan from Southend of Amsterdam, Cologne, Alsace, Chateauroux, Caen, Devon and Cornwall, Waterford, Dublin and Liverpool. The company plans of being based in three airports of which Southend will be the third behind Chateauroux in France and Waterford in Ireland.

As I blogged about a few days ago The airport expansion is the biggest issue on the doorstep in Southend West and it is not all one way. Some are pro but the majority are against the plans. However the expansion now looks set to go through and residents objections have been ignored.

This ongoing story will be one of the most important politically speaking in the west side of the town throughout the next few years. It is certainly one to keep an eye on. If the Lib Dems want to make progress they might have to find a strong position against the expansion of the airport as without a doubt they are the party on the defence in this town at the moment whilst the independents attack and the Tories consolidate. Labour are an after thought.

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June 21st, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Posted in Politics

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David Cameron stabs Ken Clarke and the Lib Dems in the back

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So David Cameron has pandered to The Sun again. If only I was surprised. After years of saying they were the ones the won Labour the 1997 election despite the evidence being rather different. The Sun can now claim to pretty much have David Cameron’s ear. The Tory Prime Minister has once more listened to the newspaper and decided to completely rip up Ken Clarke’s excellent prison reforms just to ensure that publicly he can sound tough on crime.

The Sun’s ‘Say No To Soft Justice’ has been running ever since Victoria Derbyshire decided to bring up rape in an interview with the Justice Secretary. The fact these proposed bills had been in the public domain for months is neither here nor there – once someone had brought up the word rape then the media and the public jumped on the bandwagon without even giving the proposals the time of day.

I wrote my most popular ever blog about it the day after entitled Ken Clarke – a trial by Social Media where I parodied the reaction of twitter to the interview in a court setting. It showed how reactionary twitter (and in all honesty most people) were to the news.

The media banged on repeatedly about the 50% reduction in sentences whereas in all honesty the only difference was giving judges more leeway. The current rules are a judge can reduce a sentence up to 33% for an early guilty plea. So the difference would only have been 17%. All crimes are not created equal and judges know this. It is a shame that the Prime Minister doesn’t seem to.

I’m going to put it out there right now – just throwing people into prison does nothing. Prison doesn’t work. All prison does generally is make softer cons more hardened as they are surrounded 24 hours a day by hardened cons and drugs. For the future the most important thing is surely to get people off drugs and teach them that a life of crime isn’t the way forward. Nipping their life of crime in the bud. That would be far better than creating another generation of big time crooks.

However by doing this people will think that you are being soft on crime. Too many people think prison is the answer to everything. It isn’t. Prison is in many cases the cause for a life time of crime getting progressively worse as they go. The more time an impressionable individual spends with a bad person then the more they’ll think the bad person is a good role model. It is exactly the same as a good kid hanging out with bad kids on a street corner, before you know it the good kid will be doing bad things. It is exactly the same with people in prison.

Yet again I go back to one of my initial comments – not all crimes are created equal and without a doubt not all criminals are created equal. Giving judges as much leeway as possible is a good thing. It isn’t soft on crime it is called being smart on crime. Yes it isn’t easy and some will think community sentences are soft but there needs to be another way. Maybe the creation of special short-term prisons which are a short-sharp-shock treatment for less serious crimes. Maybe giving younger criminals the option of jail or military service. Something has to be done differently as the status quo will not do the job long-term.

Whilst it may be completely clear that I’m in disagreement with this u-turn and liked the proposals a lot, what gets my goat more is the Prime Minister saying that the Lib Dems are soft and had it been a Tory government they would be tougher on crime like this is a good thing. The truth is that the Tories didn’t outright win the election so he can only blame himself for that part and whilst the Tories want to be tough on crime, they aren’t exactly smart on crime and that is a distinct difference. Unless things change then people will get into crime at a young age and stay involved in crime for the rest of their lives. Is that what we want as a nation? Generation after generation of criminals or do we want to find a way to get people off of crime?

That is the question we need to answer. Personally speaking we need to find a solution to stopping career criminals before they get into their career. Whilst these proposals wouldn’t tackle that problem head-on they were giving the people who understand even more leeway. Is sending an 18 year-old kid down for six months for burglery to feed his drug habit really going to do anything other than give him a few months with hardened cons who’ll help him on his path to a life of crime?

Justice is not only about protecting civilians short-term whilst they are behind bars and punishing the culprits. It is also about protecting citizens long-term when the criminals finish their sentence and getting criminals off of their path of a life of crime and into hard working tax paying citizens for the benefit of both themselves and the country.

It is better to be smart on crime than tough on crime.

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June 21st, 2011 at 9:53 am

Posted in Politics

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Rebecca Black’s Friday removed from YouTube

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How many 13 year-olds have uploaded a video of themselves singing on YouTube? More than one or two I’d imagine. However just how many of them have uploaded a video of them singing on to YouTube and had over 160 million people view that video? I think the answer to that question might just be one – Rebecca Black.

When her video Friday hit YouTube it quickly became the biggest Social Media phenomenon that I can remember. It may have been the biggest of all time. Facebook and Twitter both went into meltdown and if you had made it through the past couple of months without having heard the song then you’d have been going some. However watching said video now is not as easy after a despute between the artist and the production company has led to the video being taken down from the video sharing website.

The Ark Music Factory had started to charge viewers $2.99 (£1.85) to watch the video via it’s YouTube platform. This was done without the knowledge nor consent of Miss Black. The 13 year-old has now launched legal action over the video and with a copyright claim has enforced YouTube to take the video down. I am pretty sure that she is happy for the video to stay on the site as long as it is free but the production company think they can milk this for even more money.

It will be a very interesting case to follow as to who exactly owns the rights to the video and song. Rebecca Black’s parents paid Ark a sum to produce the song and video but have been claiming since March that they company are exploiting her. This could get messy folks. This is another example of talentless nobodies getting their fifteen minutes of fame. With the way things are going I’ll get commissioned to write and star in my own TV show in the near future. If Imogen Thomas and Rebecca Black can be stars with no talent then so can I…

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June 20th, 2011 at 2:30 pm

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TV looks like it has found a way to sink even lower.

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Just when I think we can’t sink any lower in terms of entertainment we drop another level. So a former Big Brother contestant had a fling with a married Premier League footballer. We don’t give a damn. It dominated the media landscape for a couple of weeks but is now already yesterday’s chip paper. However the lady in question isn’t ready to give up just yet and plans to turn her seedy affair into big money but how is she planning to this?

Is it be on another reality TV show? I know that I’m a Celebrity… would love to add her to the next series in the jungle. Could she write a tell all book? Will she become a TV presenter for some trashy TV show/channel? All of these are possible but none are as depressing and indicative of the culture that we live in than the truth.

The truth as exclusively revealed by The Sun today is she is locked in talks with multiple broadcasters about her own reality TV show entitled Imogen Finds A Husband and now I vomit. I know in this digital age there is a lot of TV hours to fill and so much of it is dross but have we as a nation and as a society come to the point where the barrel has been scraped so much that a reality TV show about a nobody finding a husband is worth not only being commissioned but for multiple broadcasters to have shown some interest?

I know there have been some god awful reality TV shows – mostly on ITV2 – but really Imogen Thomas finding a husband? What the hell has happened to television? Do people really want to watch such tripe?

Honestly my faith in humanity gets rocked most days but today the rocking has been of seismic levels.

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June 20th, 2011 at 11:43 am

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Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye Face Off with Max Kellerman (video)

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In less than a fortnight the biggest Heavyweight boxing fight in eight years will be going on. After jawing for a couple of years and quite honestly ducking the Klitschko brothers, David Haye looks set to turn up and fight on July 2 in Hamburg to fight the younger of the brothers.

A few weeks ago they faced off with HBO’s Max Kellerman and the video was released this week and it is to be frank awesome. Wlad is seriously pissed with Haye and the Englishman looks a wee bit scared. The full video is below. Watch and enjoy.

As for the fight itself I’ll preview it nearer the time and give my pick then (I know you all care so much) but this fight could go either way.

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June 19th, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Posted in Other Sport

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The BBC has NOT axed F1.

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UPDATED: July 29 – F1’s new contract – BBC/Sky Sports to share coverage – Article there >>>>>F1 Sells it’s soul

We woke up this morning to the following front page of The Sunday Times claiming that the BBC has axed F1.

Sunday Times Front Page 19/06/11

Sunday Times Front Page 19/06/11

Now I’m not saying that I have a better knowledge of the inner workings of the BBC than one of the most famous media publications in the world but in this instance I do.

The figures and conjecture in the piece are wildly inaccurate. The contract is worth £200m over five years and not £300m over the same period. That is a whopping £100m inaccuracy just to open up. Also when the piece says that the average race gets between 2-4m viewers that is wrong.

So far this season the average race has 4.7m viewers and we have had several early morning races as well. The Monaco GP averaged 6.1m and the Canadian GP despite the rain delay peaked at over 8m viewers and had the race not been transferred over to BBC2 it may have averaged over 8m viewers. These figures do not include the 1m or so listeners on BBC Radio 5live per weekend.

The piece is penned by the Sunday Times arts editor Richard Brooks who has long been anti anything that isn’t high brow. The Sunday Times is also owned by Rupert Murdoch whose BSkyB company are interested in both acquiring the rights to show the sport in the UK and in buying the sport itself. The main issue with this is F1 as it stands often goes head-to-head with football and that doesn’t seem ideal for Murdoch.

What is true however is that F1 may well leave the BBC. The point is it hasn’t as yet and nor have the BBC exercised their break clause so F1 will be on the BBC in 2012. The BBC have a break clause still that could negate the 2013 and 2014 seasons from being shown on the cooperation.

BBC Sport need to save 20% of their budget and that in real terms means one of the big three lives events will have to go. Wimbledon looks safe as the BBC and Wimbledon have a long history and relationship. Wimbledon officials know that if they left the Beeb and went to Sky then tennis as a sport in this country would die. So they will take less and make it up with their TV contracts for the event in other countries – namely the USA.

So it looks like a straight toss-up between F1 and the Six Nations for the chop and it could go either way. ITV would be interested in both events as even though they cut F1 in 2008 by activating their own break clause, the resurgence of the sport in terms of viewers would make them keen to take the sport again – as long as it was at the right price. The same is true on the Six Nations. If ITV could put the games in prime-time then they would be very interested. A game on a Friday night and then two games on a Saturday night would bring in a tonne of ABC1 viewers – the type every broadcaster is chasing.

So whilst the future of F1 on the BBC is less than assured. The piece in the Sunday Times which is behind a paywall therefore no link from me provided is less than accurate and in all honesty not worth reading or caring about.

UPDATED: July 29 – F1’s new contract – BBC/Sky Sports to share coverage – Article there >>>>>F1 Sells it’s soul

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June 19th, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Posted in Other Sport

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You Have Won 1,000,000GBP(Contact Us:director@a7bnk.com)

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Here is a straight c&p of a spam e-mail. Really if you are going to spam at least learn basic English grammar and punctuation…

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June 17th, 2011 at 6:13 pm

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Millwall v Portsmouth on Boxing Day. Oh the irony…

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So the fixture list has come out this morning and there are certain dates and games that you look for as a football fan. Opening day, when you play your rivals, who you play on the last day and the Christmas period games.

Pompey open up with a trip to the Riverside to play Middlesbrough. We traditionally do well up there. We play the Scum as the last game before Christmas at home – I’m very confident PC Plod will be distinctly unhappy with that. Christmas Eve falls on a Saturday this year so no games are being played on that day so Saturday 17th December will be a very big shopping day. Not exactly the day when you want Pompey and the Scum to face up with 3,000 odd Scummers flooding into Pompey. The last time the sides played each other in the home of the Royal Navy there were riots. Fratton Park is not an easy ground to police certainly considering Fratton Station is a good 10-15 walk away down Goldsmith Avenue.

Still that might just be the warm-up act for the police as the Met will have to deal with Millwall v Portsmouth on Boxing Day. Millwall and Pompey have been rivals since the hooliganism heydays of the 70s and 80s. They were known as two of the worst crews about and boy they liked that reputation. Getting them to play on Boxing Day when a lot of the old guard may well be able to go is not smart. Also the fact there are no trains on Boxing Day mean there is no easy way to get the visiting fans out of the capital as most will now be arriving by car. It just seems a bit dumb. Pompey v Scum just before Christmas and then Millwall v Pompey on Boxing Day. The fixture computer was clearly trying to get the local bobbies some overtime.

Pompey open and finish away from home as we’ll be celebrating our promotion and Championship in front of Steve McClaren and Nottingham Forest on the final day of the season (which is in April) at the City Ground.

This is the day when football fans start to really get up for next season but as a Pompey fan it is kinda hard. We still know nothing about our new owners and have something like nine or ten players under contract. Being a Portsmouth fan is like being addicted to caffeine. You try and ween yourself off and all you get is a horrible headache. I weened myself off caffeine last year and I also became detached from Portsmouth Football Club. Both moves have been extremely beneficial for my health. I’ve always said once the crooks leave then I’ll be back so it looks like the crooks have gone but we’ll see what CSI are like before I start taking the PFC drug full-time again…

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June 17th, 2011 at 11:41 am

Posted in Football

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Laurie Penny tells someone they are an ‘hopeless inadequate’ as well some from worse things. Harsh.

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Sometimes life is hard. We all know that. Sometimes we say things we didn’t mean but if we say them on a social networking site the odds are that someone will notice. When you just being you draws the ire of many fellows you have to be very safe with your social networking words. This is something Laurie Penny may have forgotten earlier today when she tweeted the following:

(Screenshot courtesy of twitter user @Parlez_Me_nTory)

Penny Red Tweet

Penny Red seemingly has a potty mouth...

Is this the voice of someone who is a columnist over at The New Statesman and has written for several upmarket publications?

The tweet was deleted within moments but it had been seen. Clearly the person in question has pissed her off royally but telling someone to ‘fuck off and die’ is disgraceful and when you tell someone that they are a ‘hopeless inadequate’ it says more about the person saying those words than it does the person saying them.

Look I know I’m not Laurie’s biggest fan but I do respect her to some degree that she has strong opinions and isn’t afraid to stick by them through thick and thin. Having said that though you can’t go around saying such things about people – certainly not in a public forum anyway. She has a career and has put herself in an interesting position for the future however the more she uses bad language and direct insults at people who disagree with her the less support she’ll get.

She has something about her as a writer. There is little doubt about that. Her latest post in the New Statesman about Dignity in life, dignity in death has a lot of merit but she can’t help herself but drag it back to politics. Not everything in this world is about politics. Her conclusion that the way the government are killing the welfare state will lead to more suicides is so far removed from what the piece was seemingly about sums her up totally.

Love her or loathe her she is here to stay. However many more foul mouthed tirades and editors will start getting twitchy.

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June 16th, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Posted in Politics

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