The Rambles of Neil Monnery

Another pointless voice in the vast ocean that is the interweb

Archive for July, 2011

Jenson Button hoax that sucked me in – some people are just sick

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I was idly wading through Digital Spy this evening when I saw a tweet saying that Jenson Button had been in a serious accident and to pray for him. I was confused. A quick check on his official website though and it seems as though the story was true.

Jenson Button's Official Site 23:21

I tweeted to say the story was on his official website so that it was seemingly true. You generally pretty much believe what is written on an official website although the fact that he was in a quote ‘critical’ condition but might still race tomorrow seemed way odd and that should have got the alarm bells ringing faster than they did.

However within a few mins someone has debunked the story and had found this article on the Top Gear website which showed exactly the same photo as was used in the piece on Jenson’s Official Website.

Clearly a hack job.

So first of all it taught me a lesson not to jump to conclusions – even on an official website as they are usually gospel. Secondly I didn’t question it mostly because I just didn’t think that someone would make up such a story and go to such lengths to portray it as real. Sometimes I’m just stunned what people will do.

To end apologies to all who read my tweets on the issue for a few minutes before it became clear it was a hoax. Grave error from me and lets hope we see Jenson fighting fit and surging through the field tomorrow (and hopefully a spot of rain in the race too just for fun).

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July 30th, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Posted in Other Sport

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The Daily Mail just will not let the BBC win – more on F1 moving to Sky

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The Daily Mail have a go at the BBC at every opportunity. Top Gar is a personal bug bear that they seem to have and any story that shows Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May or anything associated with the show in a bad light is game on for a vitriolic piece. Another thing that have banged on about is the cost of Formula One and the fact it’s not a proper sport and the way they treated Jonathan Legard was a disgrace (yes I’m looking at you Charles Sale) but now that F1 is on it’s way to Sky with only a part-time home on the corporation what do they do…?

They get Murray Walker to write a big piece for them to say how sad it is that F1 is leaving for Sky. The mind boggles.

Unsurprisingly I agree with a lot of what Murray Walker had to say and one rather interesting tidbit was the news that he was approached by ITV the day after the announcement that the BBC had lost the gig. He knew that he was going across to the other channel and that leaves many questions to be answered about the current BBC on-air talent.

I think it is safe to say that the name that will be mentioned most is that of Martin Brundle – who has been the only constant on the UK coverage since 1997 (albeit he has missed a race or two here and there). Brundle is now lead commentator for the Beeb and is on a fair whack of money but is out of contract at the end of this year. It is highly doubtful that the BBC will pay him the money he wants to only do ten live races a year. Sky would pay him but would they want him as a lead commentator or do they have Ben Edwards lined up for that? If so would Brundle want to take a perceived step down in role?

All very possible. As for Jake Humphrey then expect him to stay with the BBC although him carrying on with F1 might be in a little bit of jeopardy. David Coulthard may well not be wanted by Sky and Eddie Jordan is very unlikely to be asked to make the move. Ted Kravitz as I said yesterday is surely the only other member of the BBC team that would interest Sky but it is very early days.

As for who’ll anchor the Sky coverage well I have no idea but Georgie Thompson fronted A1GP on the channel and will surely be in the mix.

Going back to the title though it does seem as though whatever the BBC does the Daily Mail will rip them for it. If we had the technology and the know-how to go into a parallel universe we could see every single situation played out by the Beeb and I’m sure the Daily Mail will lambast them every single time. Sometimes I must say the media bias really goes get on my tits.

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July 30th, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Posted in Other Sport

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Louise Mensch MP once took drugs and has admitted it – good for her

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A quick blogpost to give props to Louise Mensch MP who has shown how to deal with the media head-on. Miss Mensch was on the Select Committee who questioned the Murdoch’s last week and within a few days she was e-mailed to say that an investigative reporter was digging into her past and had found some things that might well make good tabloid material. Instead of getting an injunction or denying the allegations she just answered them. You can read her thoughts over here.

So whoop-die do a twenty-something took drugs. I couldn’t give a rat’s arse and nor could most people. There will be some older people and some even within her own party that will find this aberrant and a disgrace but you know what – those people should shut the hell up. People do drugs and certainly young people do. Just because they do drugs one day doesn’t make them a druggie and doesn’t mean that they can’t become not just functional members of society but also ones to aspire to.

As for why she was sacked from a previous position she said why and people get fired for that sort of thing all the time. As for characters in Tv shows/Books etc… they are often at least loosely based on someone the scriptwriter or author knows. That is just the way it is. Big deal. No story here…

If this is how politics is going that politicians are happy to be up front about their past and maybe to some degrees their personal lives and it does nothing to dent their standing then that is a great thing for both politicians and for the public. We are all human and we all have a past or a private life that isn’t the perfect 2.4children upbringing in the suburbs. There are what 650 MPs currently and how many of them are perfect and have nothing in their past that could be seen as scandalous by at least a small minority of the population? Yep that’s right zero percent.

So well done to Louise Mensch. Some people may not like her but boy you have to respect her openness and honesty. It might work well with the electorate (and it should) but it probably won’t sit well with the party who won’t like admitted drug users in their ranks but sod them. I want my politicians to be both real people and open and that is something that no-one can lambast this MP over that she isn’t either of them.

While there are some obvious physical effects that one can see on a heroin or meth addict, no one really knows how to tell if someone is on drugs just by looking at them because of the lack or absence of physical symptoms.

Good work Louise. Keep it up.

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July 29th, 2011 at 11:54 am

Posted in Politics

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A campaign to bring back the death penalty? Please God No.

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So Guido Fawkes is launching a campaign to reinstate the death penalty and my heart sinks that little bit lower.

I like to think that most people in this country are level-headed and open-minded, I say I like to think that but of course whether that is true or not I have no idea. He links to a poll that says that 50% of people would be happy to see people hang for murder. I just had a shiver run down my spine. I know many of you reading this will think that I’m just a bleeding heart liberal but the general belief is that around one quarter of all convictions are dodgy.

I used to work with a former prison officer and he told me that he knew a good proportion of those inside were innocent but he didn’t give a toss. Someone can have a life after they are released from prison if they were innocent but if you kill them then you can never take that back. Innocent people go down all the time and sadly that will always happen. So how can we as a society ever justify killing an innocent person?

Also if we were to kill those who were given the death penalty then aren’t we as bad and barbaric as those who commit these crimes? Someone administering a lethal injection or putting someone in a noose and then opening a trap door is an cold-blooded as the person they are committing to death – the only difference is the state would be okaying it but when can you ever justify a murder? A state mandated murder would be ok and a different kettle of fish to a real life murder. Nah not for me…

You can never reverse a death penalty and even if you only kill a few innocent people then that is a few too many. It is better to set a guilty person free than to find an innocent person guilty. That is something I have always believed in and always will. It is fundamental to my core beliefs and something I had in the forefront of my mind when I first did jury duty and when the stakes are that high then it is putting even more pressure on a jury to reach a verdict knowing they are debating a persons right to live and not just the matter of guilt or innocence.

If the death penalty was reinstated then torture I suspect wouldn’t be far behind. I’m not sure what world the majority of people would like to live in but a world without tirture and the death penalty sounds pretty good to me.

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July 29th, 2011 at 11:07 am

Posted in Politics

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F1 sells it’s soul

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This morning F1 along with BBC and Sky Sports released the following statement:

All races, qualifying and practice sessions live on Sky Sports across TV, Online and Mobile and Tablet devices

Half the races and qualifying sessions remain live on BBC TV, Online and Mobile including key races such as the British Grand Prix, Monaco Grand Prix and the final race of the season.

Extensive BBC highlights on TV, Online and Mobile, of all races and qualifying sessions that BBC is not covering live

Build- up coverage of each Grand Prix on BBC News, Sky Sports News and Sky News

Extensive multi-platform coverage including red button, bbc.co.uk/sport and skysports.com

That is exactly the news I wanted to wake up to on a Friday morning. Oh no wait. It’s not. It is awful news. Now I have Sky Sports so it isn’t exactly a huge deal as I’ll still get to watch every race live but at times I’m not a selfish soul and I know so many people who do not have Sky who love F1 who will be absolutely gutted by the news.

The mis-mash of some races live on the BBC and every race live on Sky just isn’t right nor is it fair. The sport has always had a home on free-to-air television and there is little doubt the whole calendar could have been shown live somewhere on free-to-air TV but clearly when it came down to it Sky were happy to kill a sport’s future and F1 themselves were happy to kill the sport in this country.

Whilst F1 are saying that having half the races on free-to-air TV will still satisfy their commercial interests I question this as people will give up on the sport. F1 has had a long hard fight to become popular again but it was getting there due to a mix of good coverage and great racing. Now though that good will has gone.

In commentary news it is really interesting that Martin Brundle is out of contract and will surely be wanted by Sky for their coverage. Whether they want him as the main commentator or if they want him to revert to a co-commentator or analyst role we’ll have to wait and see. I suspect Brundle and Ted Kravitz are the only members of the on-air team that Sky Sports will have legitimate interest in but time will tell.

What time won’t tell is how annoyed I am. I can tell you the answer right now. Very.

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July 29th, 2011 at 8:41 am

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Phone Hacking, Piers Morgan and the Sunday Mirror

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So News International were involved in phone hacking. The whole world went nuts. Everyone cancelling their Sky subscriptions. People claiming to have never read The Times or even an online story on The Sun. Lefties scrambling to show the reading world that they had never even touched a Murdoch tainted product. One person even tweeted that she had never even seen a TV with Sky on it. I laughed so much I had a rectal prolapse*

So as we sit here today with the rumours swirling around the Mirror Group and lets be honest most of us are pretty darn sure that phone hacking was rife amongst all newspapers in the late 90s and up to the recent day then why am I not reading tweets and blogs from everyone saying how they are boycotting all the newspaper industry these days? Whilst their is no hard evidence yet against any other newspaper the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming. We know that people who did phone hack worked for other newspapers and when Piers Morgan says in a 2007 interview that Clive Goodman was just a ‘fall guy for an investigative practice that everyone knows was going on,’ and went on to say in a Desert Island Discs programme when asked about it:

‘To be honest, let’s put that in perspective as well. Not a lot of that (staff on newspapers phone hacking) went on. A lot of it was done by third parties rather than the staff themselves. That’s not to defend it, because obviously you were running the results of their work.

‘I’m quite happy to be parked in the corner of tabloid beast and to have to sit here defending all these things I used to get up to, and I make no pretence about the stuff we used to do.

‘I simply say the net of people doing it was very wide, and certainly encompassed the high and low end of the supposed newspaper market.’

Now of course Piers Morgan is not going to come out and say that he knew directly of it now as it’s a shit-storm out there and he has a huge payday stateside that would be in jeopardy should he admit it but we all know deep down this practice was widespread. However the vitriol is not coming out anyone so there can only be two reasons for this. Either the story has blown itself out (which I do not believe) or that the media and government are so busy trying to take down the Murdoch’s that they have lost perspective on the actual crime.

The crime isn’t about one incident of hacking Milly Dowler’s phone It is about the culture of an industry and not just News International. If you want to take down News International and are using this as a crux then you have to attack other media outlets too because if you don’t then that’s just not cricket. If you are waiting until the hard evidence comes out against the other newspapers (which it will) then fair enough but I shall sit here watching the twittersphere and blogs with intent over the coming days, weeks and months.

The smoking gun has lots more smoke to blow before this one is over and if it doesn’t encompass the majority of Fleet Street then I’ll be shocked. Shocked.

*That actually didn’t happen.

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July 28th, 2011 at 10:11 am

Posted in Politics

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Dreams of being Prime Minister one minute, being a cold blooded murderer the next.

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Yesterday saw the conclusion of a criminal case that for some unknown reason I have been following quite closely. It was the case of a 16 year-old who was accused of luring his ex-girlfriend to the woods near where they lived and bludgeoning her to death in an attempt to win a free breakfast off a mate whom he’d bet with that he would kill her.

Well Joshua Davies has been found guilty of the murder of Rebecca Aylward and you read the story and just can’t stop shaking your head is disbelief. A crime that makes no sense in any way imaginable and just goes to show us all just how little we know about other people at times.

Now it has been a fair while since I was 15/16 I will admit but I was blissfully naive of the dangers of the world. I know my mum didn’t want me meeting people I’d spoken to from the internet because I didn’t know who they really were but this was someone this girl already knew and her parents knew and trusted him. It just goes to show that for the 99.9% of us who are safe there is always that 0.1% that have a hidden side to them – a hidden side that is violent.

It is one of the flat-out saddest cases that I have come across for a long time. I know plenty of people are murdered and in the end the result is the same but this had been planned so coldly and there were so many opportunities for someone to smell a rat. I mean if any of my friends even at the ages of 15/16 had even hinted that they wanted to kill someone then I’d be smelling a rat and making bets like a free breakfast for it and then saying ‘Don’t say anything but you may just owe me a breakfast,’ to the person whom he’d made the bet with surely his friend should have worked out something was afoot. His friend – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – said that he thought Joshua was just mucking about. Holy shit Batman are you for real?

I know teenagers sometimes aren’t the brightest section of society but really you wouldn’t think something was wrong when someone said such things? He had been banging on about killing her for months and had slowly become more cold and serious about the whole thing but still none of his friends even thought to speak to an adult about it? I just don’t get it I’m afraid.

As for the blurred lines between the internet and reality then I quite frankly do not find that an acceptable excuse. Some comments on the stories I linked to earlier blamed the death on Facebook, well I’m sorry middle-class folk of England but Facebook is not to blame for this murder. The person who hit her repeatedly over the head with a rock is and that man is seemingly going to spend a long time in custody whether it be in a young offenders institution, jail or in a psychiatric unit.

The internet is not to blame. The person wasn’t driven to kill by the internet. He was driven to kill by either his own insanity or his evilness or a combination of the two. That is sadly the only question that is left to answer.

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July 28th, 2011 at 9:18 am

Posted in News

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Breaking a coalition agreement, the Data Protection Act and the European Court of Human Rights – what a morning!

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I was woken up this morning by my phone blipping telling me to read the following article entitled Innocent people’s DNA profiles won’t be deleted after all, minister admits in The Daily Telegraph. Yeah it wasn’t going to cheer me up and make me all bright eyed and bushy tailed for the day ahead I can assure you.

So let’s deal with the political ramifications of this first. In the coalition agreement it states quite clearly that we are going to adopt the Scottish model and delete all DNA records from people who haven’t been charged or have not been found guilty of a crime – unless it is a violent or sexual crime when records are kept on file for five years. This is far from ideal and is in all honesty a disgrace but compare that to what the government are looking to push through now and it seems like a Utopian paradise.

If you have not been convicted of any crime then it seems rather straight forward to me that there are no grounds for anyone to keep hold of your identifiable information. What is to stop a police officer arresting anyone they fancy just to get their DNA and keep it on file? Not a great deal. Even a case of mistaken identity is not a good enough reason to scrub someone’s information off the computer.

Scary.

Secondly under these new plans then getting the data would be a breach of the Data Protection Act and would not be admissible in court so then why are they being kept? Obviously even though that evidence couldn’t be used in court it could help the law put together a case. Great in theory but in real terms it basically means they any evidence they got after finding out the DNA information could be challenged in court and I suspect all subsequent evidence could (and maybe would) be ruled as inadmissible in court. Maybe someone with a better legal background could verify that for me or tell me my layman’s knowledge of law is shoddy.

Thirdly that pesky Human Rights Act. The European Court of Human Rights has made a ruling and we as a nation are signed up to take their rulings as law but seemingly we are ignoring some of them as we don’t like it. You what? So we can ignore some of the Human Rights Act and some of what the European Court of Human Rights says if we don’t like what they say. Are you freaking kidding me?

This stinks of the Tory right baying for blood. The Home Office minister James Brokenshire is quoted in the piece saying “(the DNA records shall) be considered to have been deleted (even though the DNA profile record, minus the identification information, will still exist)”.

So basically he is saying ‘look we’ve done what we’ve been told but instead of you know, deleting, deleting them what we’ll do is take everyone’s names off the records but leave a marker in them so we can identify them if needs be.’ Not exactly what I call deleting something there. Keeping it and making it identifiable. However I’m some raging liberal who you know actually cares about Civil Liberties and the like.

Towards the end of the piece there is a brilliant paragraph, ‘However within individual police systems, profiles are recorded in batches and it was not possible to delete one without affecting the rest, including convicted offenders.’ So it would be impossible to delete only the profiles of the innocent. What horse you know what. I think in this day and age even the most inept computer script writer could write a programme that deletes all the profiles of innocent people. I’m pretty sure of that guys…

The Home Office Spokesman is quoted as saying they’ll do as they are told from the Eurpean Court of Human Rights but who do we believe more – a PR person or a minister who is in charge of this when both have been directly quoted? Yeah exactly.

I hope all of the Liberal Democrat MPs vote against this bill as constituted by Brokenshire/The Daily Telegraph should it come up in the House of Commons. If your name is on the list then you are not coming in is a rather famous saying. I think the Lib Dem MPs need to adopt an ‘if it isn’t in the coalition agreement then we are not voting for it’ policy for any bill that isn’t of grave importance to the economy, which I will grant is a fluid situation.

European Court of Human Rights and the Human Rights Act is good. Pandering to the Tory Right just to please them is not.

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Written by neilmonnery

July 26th, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Posted in Politics

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All Brand New Southend Hospital Radio Downloads Page

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Hello All.

I have finally got round to sorting out the mess that was my Southend Hospital Radio Download Links. Now instead of being listed to the right of the screen they are all listed on one page which I will update frequently. The new page is behind the following link – Southend Hospital Radio Downloads and it can be found at all times in the right-hand nav near the top of the screen.

Listed are all the shows that are available to download along with dates, hosts and presenters of each show.

There is even a bonus download of a random show from some time in early 2007 featuring the one legendary and missed Nick Holmes. If he ever reads this then please get in touch.

So if you have any interest in Hospital Radio then have a gander or even if you are just interested in hearing just how terrible I am at radio then the same applies. Enjoy and please let me know what you think either via e-mail or by leaving a comment. For all enquiries about Southend Hospital Radio then please send me an e-mail or look at the official SHR website.

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July 26th, 2011 at 1:18 pm

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Shoebury Police get tough on crime. Well they don’t but if you steal two bottles of booze three months ago they’ll go to the press.

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Just a quick one here. I do have a couple of longer blog posts penciled in for later today but I saw the following story entitled CCTV of suspected thief in the local rag just now and I am just sitting here in disbelief.

Firstly the offence is stealing £20 worth a booze. Not exactly crime of the century. Secondly it is a CCTV still and not a CCTV video showing if he stole said booze. Thirdly the offence happened on May 2. Now looking at my calendar it tells me that today is July 25. So the best part of three months has gone by and now Shoebury Police are thinking it is time for a media appeal to get this dangerous man.

Honestly?

Honestly?

It says something that the usual hilarious commentators on the Southend Echo website are mostly quiet and the ones who have said anything are taking the piss. I simply cannot believe that a police officer is really wasting her time on such a case. I know Southend isn’t exactly at the centre of crime but the best part of 13 weeks and still no breakthrough in this case and they want to move the case forward?

The next thing you know they’ll go all CSI on us and target people who drop a chip along the seafront and assign four officers to exhaust all avenues of enquiries to get the litter bug.

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July 26th, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Posted in News

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