The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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Archive for the ‘government’ tag

On the banning of certain sex acts in UK pornography…

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Oh boy. Where do I start? Some of you will no doubt have read the story in the Independent today where it lists the new sexual acts that are banned in UK pornography. If you haven’t then you’ll be interested to know the following acts are not allowed to be shot in porn shoots here in the UK any more:

Spanking
Caning
Aggressive whipping
Penetration by any object “associated with violence”
Physical or verbal abuse (regardless of if consensual)
Urolagnia (known as “water sports”)
Female ejaculation
Strangulation
Facesitting
Fisting

The theme here is clearly violence but what about consensual violence? No-one knows what goes on behind closed doors and the amount of people who enjoy consensual violence is far higher than most people imagine. Porn shoots will often have acts of domination and that often goes hand in hand with consensual acts of violence. The thing that is also clear though is this list seems to lean heavily towards acts from which women derive the most pleasure and the FemDom porn industry is going to be hurt substantially by this.

I have written before abut how we need to be more open as a society with our viewpoints towards sex and sexuality. Just because something isn’t someone’s cup of tea, they shouldn’t judge that others and we certainly shouldn’t be banning it and making it harder for people to explore their erotic desires.

This isn’t the time or place to talk openly about my views towards sex and sexuality but if you know me well then you’ll know that I’m pretty open and liberal sexually (despite my distinct lack of actual first hand knowledge). I think what happens between two (or more) consenting adults is all fair game and heck, life is hard enough without being judged for what we may or may not like in bed. I look at that list and I can only see one thing listed that I wouldn’t try (not including female ejaculation obviously, because you know, genetically I’d probably struggle with that). I can say that I have watched porn that includes all ten of the newly banned things on that list. I’m happy to admit that. Some of what I’ve watched has been extremely exciting and interesting and I’d watch more and I’d be involved in many of those scenarios, in both positions.

The problem is some people in grey suits have decided that because someone might enjoy watching people be spanked or being verbally abused or degraded that it is a ‘slippery slope’ to those people going out and committing crimes to fulfil their fantasies. I would love to see the evidence of this. I really would. Also banning it would surely drive some of these people to find new ways to get their rocks off so to speak? Pushing sexual things underground only goes to pushing a problem under the carpet, out of sight, out of mind and all that but here’s the thing – their isn’t a problem.

There is a beautiful comment on that story in the Independent, ‘As a hard working taxpayer I feel I have the right to unwind in the evening and watch a woman being strangled while she urinates with someone’s fist up her arse.

Who is in charge of this madness?

You’ve got to chuckle by he/she is right. I know people who like to be strangled. I know people who like to be strangled so much they lose control of their bladder. I know people who like being fisted. I know people who would like to watch such an encounter. Why shouldn’t the people who enjoy it not be able to be filmed and paid for such a shoot and why should people not be allowed to purchase said video? It is just an example of a government overstepping their remit and trying to impose their sense of moral judgement on those who might have more open morals. It isn’t governments place to tell us what is good and what is bad.

I believe strongly in individual freedom for people to live their lives how they see fit as long as they aren’t harming anyone else. If people want to sell and buy sex freely then so be it. I have long been for the legalisation of prostitution for people who freely want to sell and buy sex. The same is true of pornography. If the people involved are consenting and they are adults then who has the right to tell these people that they shouldn’t be allowed to do it? No-one.

Also what the hell is wrong with seeing a female ejaculate? I mean c’mon. What is wrong with facesitting? What is wrong with water sports? What is wrong with spanking? I could go on but you get the picture.

Yes you’ll see a tiny fraction of people watch violence towards women or men and become obsessed and want to find harder core stuff and eventually get to a place where they could go on to do something nasty in the real world with without consent. However you can’t legislate for the tiny minority. At some point you need to take a step back and allow humans to live their lives how they see fit as long as they don’t hurt others. This change to the 2003 Communications Act has gone beyond that and are treating humans as creatures that quite simply cannot be trusted.

It is moves like this that instead of protecting potential victims down the road actually does the opposite. If you starve a person of something they won’t just forget about it and move on, they’ll become more active in seeking what they want and if they can’t find it by their usual means of porn then they may take things into their own hands. So it falls down on two points. It hurts on the fact that government are legislating against adults having free will in the porn they wish to create or watch and it also will probably cause more issues down the road as fewer people will be open and will try to suppress their sexual desires until they explode.

Bravo government. Bravo.

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December 2nd, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Politics

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Mike Hancock’s major opponent in 2015 – the Pompey Party?

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Last week came the announcement that basically the government have shafted the people of Portsmouth. The city of my birth (so I have a tonne of bias) has been the home of the Royal Navy for eons and should always have that at its heart. So when it comes to building new ships for the Royal Navy then it should be Portsmouth first and anyone else second if there is enough business to go around. I know that sounds like bias (it kinda is) but the home of the Royal Navy is the home of the Royal Navy.

I’m not the only person to think this unsurprisingly. As of just now the Save Portsmouth Dockyards Facebook page had just under 73,000 ‘likes’ – not too shabby for what four or five days? It makes the No More Page 3 Facebook page look pretty stale in comparison with 15,000 likes doesn’t it? Well this blog isn’t about me talking about the pros and cons of boobs but about how a real issue that people care passionately about can gain traction.

Tonight at the Shepherd’s Crook in Portsmouth there will be the first meeting of the ‘Pompey Party’ which is advocating putting up an alternative candidate in I suspect Portsmouth South. I do not know if they plan on this being a one-issue party of the Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern ilk that saw Dr. Richard Taylor spend nine years as an MP for Wyre Forest, but I will say this, if there is a constituency in the country that is ripe for a one-issue party then Portsmouth South is most certainly it. Lets be honest here if someone went to the 2015 General Election on the sole ticket of the Portsmouth dockyard then they wouldn’t be laughed out of town.

People are proud of where they come from and proud of their identity. I live in Essex these days and many people here revel in the Essex stereotype but Pompey folk are different. I think of Pompey people as roll up your sleeves and just get it done people. Look at the fact the football club is now owned by the fans and what people went through to get that done. I thought it had no chance because the obstacles were too great but I was proved wrong and if the ‘Pompey Party’ actually gains some good leadership and knows what its goals are and the infighting is kept to a minimum then they won’t be a joke.

Nearly 73,000 have clicked on a link to Save Pompey Dockyards, which is easy enough to do but there is something underlying here. Around 200 protesters braved the rain for an impromptu rally against the loss of shipbuilding at the dockyard, imagine how that would be with some proper planning and time to get the folk of the city educated and up to speed on this issue?

The sitting MP, Mike Hancock knows of the damage done by this decision and spoke about why shipbuilding for the Royal Navy will remain in Scotland but not in the home of the Royal Navy:

“It is a big mistake on the part of the government to put all their eggs into one basket and say that shipbuilding in Portsmouth should cease to exist. It is a very, very big mistake and one that they will live to regret.

“Whatever happens Alex Salmond in a no lose situation. He can claim credit for jobs being saved in Scotland because the UK government are running scared of him, or if they close a yard in Scotland he’ll say they are punishing Scots because of the referendum. The government ought to have seen through that.”

Leader of Portsmouth City Council was just as vocal in his opposition, saying the following on BBC Radio Four:

“Portsmouth is the last place in England that has the ability to build advanced warships for the Royal Navy and I’m very concerned that with a potential independence vote in Scotland, if Portsmouth shipbuilding is shut down, what would remain of the UK would have no ability to build advanced warships.”

“It would just mean either that that would have to change and the Royal Navy would have to buy ships from France or Germany – or we’d have to spend a huge amount of public money re-employing people, re-skilling people here in Portsmouth”.

Downing Street is on record as saying that the dockyard was closed in the ‘national interest’ which is basically them saying, ‘this is a sweetener to Scots not to go independent’ and that really hacks me off. Jobs and livelihoods should not be used as a political football but it seems as though the powers that be have decided that Portsmouth is a good sacrifice to keep the United Kingdom together. I suspect that sentiment is not exactly echoed on Portsea Island.

The 2015 Portsmouth South contest looked set to be one of the most interesting in the country before last week, with the sitting MP elected as a lib Dem but having been stripped of the whip because of a civil suit against him, the Tories had hoped to make inroads here and take the seat back. UKIP also have been praying to whatever God they pray to for a by-election here as after the success of Eastleigh, where they would have won had they just been a few days quicker off the mark. So throwing in an independent one-issue party if it does gain that all important traction and leadership would just make it fascinating.

Oh and you might wonder why Labour haven’t been mentioned as a potential winner. They aren’t a relevant force in this particular fight. If Mike Hancock (or any Lib Dem) wants to win in 2015 then they have to get this decision reversed. I think the Tories will be burnt just as much as Mike by this decision in Pompey South and it really does open the door to a potential four-way contest. I just hope that by 2015 the Dockyard has been given a reprieve and nice new orders for naval vessels to be built in Portsmouth because if it hasn’t then Portsmouth South will solely be a one-issue election.

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November 11th, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Free School Meals. Good. Marriage Tax Allowance. Bad. However…

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So the coalition government have found a billion pounds a year from somewhere and they had to decide how to spend it. Middle England believes that keeping parents in unhappy marriages will help solve some of the issues of ‘Broken Britain’ as apparently marriage and that piece of paper can change everything. I think this is bizarre and doesn’t exactly add up but still I’m going to look at the other portion of the one billion pounds a year and where it is going.

It is going to the kids, ‘why won’t somebody think of the children?’ shrieks Mrs Lovejoy but wait a minute wife of the poor beleaguered reverend. Somebody is thinking of the children. In July a review recommended a hot meal for all primary school children and this is a big step towards providing that as all children – no matter what the financial situation of their families – will get these free meals and this is an attempt to combat poverty from September next year.

The DPM said, ‘It’s my idea, it’s a Liberal Democrat idea. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long period of time. If we ever had the money, I’d like to go further and give all primary school children a good hot healthy meal at lunchtime.

My ambition is that every primary school pupil should be able to sit down to a hot, healthy lunch with their classmates every day. Millions of parents across the country are feeling the squeeze. Over the course of a year families spend over £400 lunch money for each child. I am determined to do all we can to help put money back in the pockets of these families.

‘We will start with infant school pupils because teaching healthy habits young, and boosting attainment early, will bring the biggest benefits. Universal free school meals will help give every child the chance in life that they deserve, building a stronger economy and fairer society.

Who doesn’t think this a good thing? Anyone? I thought as much. This is the type of thing that the Lib Dems can do in coalition government. If the Lib Dems were running the country then they would be able to fund this across all primary school children but for now this is progress. Of course if the Tories didn’t get their marriage tax allowance then we could do more but I think we have to realise than coalition politics is all about giving and taking.

In my (simple) mind it comes down to this. Is it better to have free school meals for all children in primary school in the first couple of years and the marriage tax allowance or have neither and that billion pounds going somewhere else or just sitting in the coffers? I think it is better to have the step forward in tackling child poverty even if it is coupled with a disappointing marriage tax break.

Coalition is all about compromises and this is one that I can certainly sit comfortably with. I think it is a sign that the party are growing up and tackling the things they can whilst in coalition. I know many Lib Dems disagree and think that we shouldn’t do any deals that allow the Tories to get anything they want in government if it doesn’t sit well with us but I think at some point people need to understand what is really important, married couples getting an extra three quid a week or 1.5million young people getting five hot meals a week?

To me this one is a complete no brainer. Nice one Nick.

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September 17th, 2013 at 5:53 pm

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This ‘mummy tax’ and lumping it in with a ‘tax cut for millionaires’ – you what Labour?

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Tax. We don’t like tax. We do like public services. The two of them go hand-in-hand so to get public services we pay tax. That is just the way of the world. Most of us have reconciled with that but then of course the debate is about who pays what and what do they pay for?

Well today the following image show up in my Facebook feed…

mummy tax

‘Mummy Tax?’

‘340,000 New mums to lose £180 thanks to David Cameron’s Mummy Tax’

Mummy Tax. Are you (expletive) kidding me? Just calling anything that just screams political spin of the likes Shane Warne would deliver should he ever turn over his arm in the political arena. The message along with the photo was thus, ‘David Cameron is prioritising a massive tax cut for millionaires over new mums and hard working families.’ So it is essentially a dig at the 45p tax rate for higher earners. However what the ‘Mummy Tax’ actually is hasn’t been explained on this image or the text provided but we’ll get to that later.

One thing I do know is that under this government (which isn’t Labour) the amount a person can earn tax free will have risen to £10,000 a year. This according to the people who do the math (or maths if you are one of those who don’t like the american terminology – I just think ‘do the math’ scans better) means that people will save £705 a year on tax. Now as far as I’m aware £705 is more than £180 but I am happy to concede that we are talking about two very different things.

Now this ‘Mummy Tax’ is of course related to the benefits freeze at 1% instead of inline with inflation. This new image or the text to go with it actually doesn’t explain that at all. I just Googled ‘Mummy Tax’ and a few notes popped up including that Labour had dubbed this part of the budget as that. Nice slogan. The ‘Bedroom Tax’ worked well for Labour but the ‘Mummy Tax’ if it stuck would be an absolute winner. The issue is it hasn’t stuck as yet but they are trying.

In an article on Sky News about it single mum-to-be Helen Mockridge had a pretty clear suggestion for a better way to reduce the deficit and I think this is what Labour are trying to get people to think.

“Taxing really rich people, obviously, that’s where the money should come from.

“For me it’s a real no-brainer and it makes me really angry that certain parts of society are very, very wealthy and the gap between rich and poor is getting bigger.

“That’s where the money should be coming from, not from single mothers or the disabled or any other vulnerable group.”

It is a viewpoint that a lot of people have but let us look at the realities of the situation. I’ll use myself as an example.

If I was ‘really rich’ then if I was going to get taxed to high heaven to help reduce the deficit then I wouldn’t live in the UK – and you know what – neither would you. If I was super rich and they put up the tax rate to beyond 50% then I’d look at it and think ‘really is living in the UK really worth paying x amount of millions extra in tax?’ and I know exactly what I’d say. See this is the problem with having a higher tax band at a vast level.

Most ‘Really rich’ people are happy to pay a fair amount but the moment they believe they are being unjustly targeted then they will up sticks and leave. When that happens they pay no tax to the UK government and no tax is not going to help with the debt. I remember a local Labour councillor telling me that he preferred the government collecting less taxation as long as the rich really got screwed as it was an ideological matter and not actually about the money collected. I couldn’t disagree more.

Tax is about money and about everyone paying a fair amount towards public services. The issue about these ‘really rich’ people is most of them have a choice about whether to live in the UK or not. So the government has to decide at what level will they get more of these people to live in the country and generate the most income. It is a balance and it isn’t easy. The best level for the higher rate tax band is whatever percentage generates the most income. The more the higher band collects then the less is needed from the lower bands. It seems like pretty straightforward economic sense to me.

So to lump the ‘tax cut for millionaires’ aka the reduction in the higher rate of Income Tax to 45% from 50% in with the Labour dubbed ‘Mummy Tax’ and say essentially that the government are getting the money from New Mums that they aren’t getting from millionaires is a lie. If the math (I did it again) is right then 340,000 (New Mums) x £180 is £61.2million a year saved by the government. Are the ‘really rich’ people contributing more than £61.2million to the government’s coffers? I think they are.

In PMQs when this first came about these were the figures the PM went with, At the 50p tax rate there were 6,000 people paying tax raising £6.7bn in taxes. The previous year when the 40p tax rate was in place 16,000 people were paying on that tax rate and they brought in £13.7bn in tax revenue for the Treasury. So more people paying less actually led to £7bn more money being raised.

This has been long and rambly (like most of my posts) but really linking the cap in benefits to the tax cut for millionaires is just bollocks. Also dubbing the benefits freeze at 1% as the ‘Mummy Tax’ just makes me want to vomit. If the reduction of the 50p tax rate to 45p brings in more money than at 50p then what will Labour say? All they can say is either ‘well played government, you’ve done a good job there’ or ‘we don’t care – tax the rich bastards as much as possible even if it means less money – we only care about making it clear we hate the rich,’ they can only go one of those two ways.

We shall see as they say but I’m pretty sure I know which they will go. Labour’s front bench doesn’t scream out, ‘we want to deal with the financial issues in the best way possible’ and instead you always get the sense their attitude is, ‘what can we do to make it seem like the Tories love the rich and hate the poor and in turn make us more electable?’

Head. Desk. Bang.

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April 18th, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Posted in Politics

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Nick Clegg has a pair of bollocks – fires shots at the Tories – finally disproves that he is a closet Tory?

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No doubt by now you’ll have read that House of Lords Reform has been ‘paused’ to use Nick Clegg’s terminology. Also as part of this the Lib Dems will not be backing the boundary review. It is a bit tit for tat but I suppose that is part of coalition politics. To read Nick Clegg’s statement in full you can do so here.

So anyway what did I read from his statement? Well mostly that Nick Clegg despite what every single Labour supporter says with such vindication – Nick Clegg isn’t actually a Tory. I know it’s hard to swallow and that these people may have to grow up and actually work on things like policies instead of lazy political insults but if Clegg was actually a Tory he wouldn’t do things that you know – the Tories don’t want him to do. It is like he is the leader of another party. Wait a minute…

Yes Clegg has gone a bit tit for tat but the important thing is he has clearly said the the Tories are the one that have broken the coalition agreement – and he is right. This is something that we can’t use enough on the front line. The Lib Dems entered into a coalition in the national interest and both sides signed off on the coalition agreement. However the Tories have decided that they don’t like something therefore won’t follow through with it despite saying that they would. Naughty, naughty…

Also another thing has come out of this. The Lib Dem leader can control his party whereas his Tory counterpart could not. I don’t think this is something that should be overlooked. Cameron was fully behind House of Lords Reform and he was unable to get enough of his backbench MPs to back the idea. They didn’t want change and dug their heels in and that was that.

Nick Clegg even offered a referendum on Lords Reform on election day in 2015. This would have minimised the cost and done what a lot of people wanted in letting the people decide of these proposals but that wasn’t accepted.

Now I back House of Lords Reform but I must say as written these proposals weren’t exactly screaming out to me. I didn’t think it was the greatest bill ever to be put in front of parliament but there was room to make adjustments to it. The thing was the backbench Tories were just never going to go for it – in any guise – and that left the bill dead in the water. All parties kinda want House of Lords Reform but the big two know that any changes might loosen their traditional power and as everyone has said many times before – Turkey’s don’t vote for Christmas.

Things brings us on to boundary changes. I actually back the idea of boundary changes in principle. I do think that MPs should represent roughly equal amount of constituents. However I also note that places like the Isle of Wight cannot be tacked on to Portsmouth or the New Forest. Here in Southend for example the boundary review would have taken Leigh and West Leigh away from Southend on a parliamentary level but those wards would still be part of Southend Council. Madness. So the boundary review wasn’t perfect but a good idea in principle but there were genuine issues. A bit like the House of Lords Reform Bill I suppose.

So now neither of these are going through at this juncture and as presently constituted. I’m not distraught over either. I want both but both have too many issues for me as it stands. However I am happy that Nick Clegg has both found his dangly bits between his legs and not laid over and let the Tories blow raspberries on his tummy. I am lso happy that he is not considering leaving the coalition over the issue. He (and the party) remain committed to the coalition and when all is said and done the Lib Dems 2015 result is related to the economy. Leaving the coalition now with the economy not flourishing would be a suicidal move. The old adage that Bill Clinton’s team reiterated many a time to Bill was ‘it’s the economy stupid’ and that was true in 1992 and it is still true in 2012.

People will not vote en masse in 2015 over whether boundary changes got through or whether the House of Lords are reformed or not. In general people care about the economy, public services and taxes. That is the bread and butter of people’s lives – everything else is just filling.

The coalition can survive and I fully expect the Lib Dems to continue to try and make it work. As for whether the Tories will I do not know but even though publicly it may look like the Lib Dems were defeated on this, it should also show that they won’t be walked over. If the Tories don’t want something then they can stamp their feet and beat their chests and it won’t become law. However if the Lib Dems don’t want something then they can do that as well – we have finally realised this. It may be too late for many people but better late than never.

Being in coalition was never going to be easy and at times we have been naive in the extreme. However we are learning fast and politics as we all sadly know isn’t all sweetness and light. So many people are in parliament are stuck in their ways and doing things differently will take time – a lot of time. Slowly the Lib Dems are wising up and hopefully this event has shown that they can stand up to the Tories on an issue and they can be as stubborn as their coalition partners and if they do – they can’t be beaten.

In 2010 the Tories didn’t win the General Election. Some of their MPs should remember this. Those pesky Lib Dems are the reason you get anything through in parliament at all. That is the way it is and without the Lib Dems then nothing happens. When the backbench MPs realise this then everything will be hunk-a-dory. Until that happens though stalemate can happen. Nick Clegg has showed that he won’t be walked over and do everything the Tories want and whilst House of Lords Reform being paused hurts, the fact that Nick Clegg showed he has a pair of bollocks softens the blow – a lot.

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August 6th, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Posted in Politics

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David Cameron has dumped House of Lords Reform. Don’t panic, Don’t panic, Don’t panic!

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It’s over folks. The House of Lords will stay as it is and the Lib Dems have been shafted worse than contestants on Robert Kilroy-Silk’s game-show ‘To share or to shaft.’ Yes a report in the Telegraph this evening says the PM can’t talk around his backbenchers and therefore is giving up. This is the same newspaper that wrote a genuine piece about the perceived ‘Curse of Cameron’ with regards to his witnessing of sporting events led to the lack of Gold medals. It is so dumb that I was going to just blog on that. Now I’m doing a bit of a mix and match and meshing the two blog posts together.

House of Lords Reform is important to the Lib Dems. The other two parties say it is important to them but deep down they couldn’t give a crap as they know that for the foreseeable future only they can run the government. Turkey’s as they say don’t vote for Christmas and one thing we know about politicians is many of them care more about themselves and getting re-elected than they do about representing their constituents. It is one of the reasons so many councillors switch sides. It’s pathetic but heck it is just the way it is.

So anyway if the report is accurate, which is not a given. Then House of Lords Reform goes and no doubt the boundaries will not be changed as the Lib Dems would be pissed and scupper that. Isn’t coalition politics great? The Tories are the big powerful voice but they have a problem that deep down they can’t get over. That they didn’t win an election victory outright and their backbench MPs just can’t get over that. They’ll rejoice they scuppered the Lords reform and then they’ll whine about the ‘insignificant’ Lib Dems not doing everything that they want them to do.

It is ‘hilarious’ – it really is. Clearly that is sarcastic. The whole working together thing isn’t the norm in this country and it is no surprise that these issues have arisen. I expected it earlier. I think most of us expected it earlier in all honesty but we’ll see what happens. The Tories might be paying a larger price than boundaries not being changed. Imagine if the price of scuppering Lords Reform is Vince Cable replacing George Osbourne as Chancellor? I know it is highly unlikely but heck we don’t know what it will play out, if as I said earlier the report is correct.

Everyone is foaming at the mouth on twitter. Well I say everyone I should say instead a lot of people are foaming at the mouth over this. One newspaper report gets everyone going when there are very little facts to go on and even if the facts are correct, we are yet to know the context of how it will all play out.

Sometimes I think people are nuts. A lot of time I think that. You can’t have rational thoughts on a subject unless you have all the facts. In this instance there is very little to go on. Lets all enjoy the Olympics and we’ll see how it plays out. This is not the time nor the place to go mental about the possible House of Lords Reform Bill dying a death.

PS: Yes The Telegraph has posted several pieces about the ‘Curse of Cameron’ – any newspaper that believes in curses and writes serious pieces about it is a newspaper written by morons. There is no such thing as curses. End.

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August 2nd, 2012 at 10:48 pm

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Why the UK Uncut mob were selfish in their protest outside Nick Clegg’s home on Saturday

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I was sunning myself in Jubilee Park and wandering through Waterlooville Town Centre on Saturday afternoon mostly wondering where the hell the fountain had gone and when I got back to my sisters she asked me if I had heard about the protest outside Nick Clegg’s house. I hadn’t and with no internet at my sisters and no 3G (how do people live in such conditions?) I wouldn’t get up to speed on the issue until the best part of 48 hours after it had started.

So having read up on the issues I’ll say that the UK Uncut mob weren’t doing anything illegal or nasty but they once more showed themselves to be the selfish lot we have all seen before. They think they speak for everyone but we all know that isn’t the case. No-one can speak for everyone. A few weeks ago I got tweets from people attacking me for what the Southend Liberal Democrat Councillors did. Now unless the count saw a monumental cock-up I am not a Southend Lib Dem Councillor but several people thought because I was a candidate that I was fair game for abuse on situations that I had no control over or say in. That is idiotic and so is the claims by K Uncut that they speak for everyone and/or the majority of people.

So I have established (well I haven’t but I have said) that the protests didn’t do anything wrong per se but what they did do was cause distress to people who weren’t the target of the protest. Nick Clegg and his family have neighbours and some of them probably don’t like Nick Clegg so thought ‘good on you’ but others will have seen their kids upset and scared by all the kerfuffle outside where they lived. Do the UK Uncut mob think of anyone else or did they just not think of possible collateral damage?

They clearly thought that Clegg’s three boys were fair game otherwise they wouldn’t have protested outside his home and would have caught him somewhere away from his kids. That was pretty disgusting in itself but it effects other people and other children as well.

Two of my excellent Lib Dem colleagues have already blogged about this (well probably more than two have but I have read these two) The 2012 bookies favourite for Lib Dem Blogger of the Year Caron Lindsay has written UK Uncut should not have been protesting at Nick Clegg’s house and the man who won best new Lib Dem Blog last year and was later than Nick Clegg to the interview with the man himself Richard Morris is taking stick over at The New Statesman for his piece entitled Targeting Clegg’s family home was plain wrong. Both are worth a click and a read if you want more views on this subject.

I am going to write about another situation though and try to draw some parallels. Sometimes you do things that you don’t see as a problem but others might and the example I am going to use is nudity. I live alone and work from home. I also don’t tend to wear too many clothes if the weather is nice around my apartment. I have no problem with nudity but I understand that others might and therefore I don’t go outside in the nip or sunbathe with no clothes on in my patio area. I also don’t have the patio doors open in general (my patio backs on to the communal area) if I’m in my birthday suit and if I do then the curtains will be shut. If I’m cooking or washing up or whatever then I’ll ensure I pull down the blind in the kitchen.

‘But wait – being seen in the nip is indecent exposure’ I hear you cry. Well actually it isn’t. It is generally believed so but it is a common misconception. According to the Sexual Offences Act 2003 Section 66:

Exposure

A person commits an offence if—

(a)he intentionally exposes his genitals, and

(b)he intends that someone will see them and be caused alarm or distress.

So walking around my apartment naked might get point a but it would never get point b. I would never intend to cause alarm or distress to anyone by seeing me sans clothes but just to be sure and because I’m not selfless I will close curtains/blinds if I think there is any possible chance of someone seeing me and inadvertently causing them distress. So even though being naked in the home and being seen isn’t illegal unless you intend to be seen and intend to cause alarm and distress I will not put people in this situation because I think of others. This is where the UK Uncut mob differ from me as they didn’t think of others and only themselves and their desperate attack on Nick Clegg.

I’ll end with from quotes from a piece in the Telegraph with my rebuttals in normal text:

Jean Sandler, 42, a UK Uncut supporter, said: “Nick Clegg is one of the architects of austerity; he’s a millionaire and lives in a million pound home.

Did you know that his wife is extremely successful and earns way more than Nick Clegg? No. No you didn’t did you Jean?

“The cuts are a political choice of this Government and the Cabinet of out of touch millionaires, they are not necessary.

Yes they are a choice. We could choose this or we could choose ignoring the debt and going the way of Greece. Everyone would have cut. No-one wouldn’t have cut it is just a question of how much and in all honesty the difference because how it is being done now and how Labour would have cut isn’t exactly a chasm.

“No one voted for Cameron and Clegg’s disastrous plan that means that we end up paying for the banks’ crisis.

Well actually more MPs did than didn’t. We vote in MPs to make the decisions on our behalf. Not every Bill goes before a national vote. That is how our democracy works…

“These cruel cuts are designed to destroy our public services, the NHS, the welfare state and our future.

What bullshit. I’m guessing the sun was affecting this man/woman – heck Jean could be either so I’m not guessing here.

“The cuts are getting personal and so are our protests.”

So this person is basically saying that you can get personal as long as you believe you are in the right. Er…not too sure that is the best way to go. History has taught us that much.

Why do UK Uncut let people talk for them who are clearly deluded or is that just par for the course of many within this movement?

I think that is a good question to end this on. I’m going to get a drink but I’m wearing underwear so no concerns about indecent exposure.

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Written by neilmonnery

May 28th, 2012 at 10:50 am

Posted in Politics

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Nick Clegg bites his polos. Time for a new leader?

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You might think it is a wee bit dramatic but during the #clegginar this afternoon whilst stealing one of Helen Duffett’s polo mints we were treated to a quite clear crunch as he bit the mint instead of sucking it. This is a worrying state of affairs as everyone knows that the best way to enjoy a polo mint is to suck it and soften it up.

So what have we learnt from this revelation? Well first Nick clegg probably has pretty good teeth. He may even bite on hard candy and not soften that up. This isn’t known at this juncture but if true it might be more newsworthy than Vladimir Putin’s photo shoot showing off his bare chest. Imagine if Nick Clegg is that hard he bites on hard candy. If that doesn’t get people to vote for him then I don’t know what would but that is a big step from biting polos but we’ll see.

I have an inherent distrust of people with certain characteristics. Those that eat mushrooms. Those that enjoy mushrooms. Those that would happily order a dish at a restaurant whose primary ingredient is mushrooms. I think you might catch my drift that I’m not entirely down with mushrooms. They are fungus people and have a hideous smell and look worse than I do after I’ve done five minutes of exercise. All the signs are there to warn people but yet some people just won’t be told.

Back to the polo thing and Nick Clegg. I don’t think this is such a big thing that ‘m going to withdraw my support for him but these are the little things that Lib Dems really care about. Gay Marriage, House of Lords reform, Act of Succession changes, how their leader eats his stolen polo mints. These are the things that might define Nick Clegg’s place in history. The economy, students, welfare reform, the NHS are all secondary.

In all seriousness the web conference with Nick Clegg this afternoon was worth listening to and although none of the overly critical questions got through it did show Clegg in his best light – when he is allowed to talk unfiltered. His passion for the Pupil Premium and Social Mobility are clear for all to see if they listen with an open ear and not a closed mind. This is why I always defend Nick Clegg from people who say that he is a Tory in Lib Dem clothing. Nick’s passions, the things that make his fires burn are liberal ones and not Conservative ones. That is who Nick Clegg is.

Is he perfect? Hell no but I’m just hypothesising here but I don’t think he has the easiest job in the world. Most political commentators say that the Lib Dems are having a disproportionate say in how the country is being run. The people on the doorstep think the polar opposite. It is one of those strange things that seems to be the case. Tories are moaning left, right and centre about the Lib Dem influence but the electorate think that the Lib Dems are propping up a Tory government in exchange for a few ministerial cars. The disparity between the political commentators and the electorate is vast.

This is the biggest problem facing the Lib Dems as a party. They have few bigger challenges as part of the government and in running the country but looking inward they have to get people to realise the influence they do have. This obviously isn’t an easy question to answer. It is in fact an extremely difficult question to answer but if someone can find an answer to that question then I think we’ll be fine.

So for now despite his polo mishap I’m still sticking with Nick, however Nick please start sucking your polos and when you leave I expect/hope that any future leader is far more normal when it comes to sticking a small mint with a hole into their mouths.

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Written by neilmonnery

May 10th, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Posted in Politics

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‘I’d govern like a true Tory if it wasn’t for the Lib Dems’

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David Cameron himself is saying that the Lib Dems are holding him back from being as Tory as he wants to be. He says that the Lib Dems are curbing him. However everyone thinks that the Lib Dems are helping him run the most right-wing government in history. Either Cameron is more right wing that Thatcher on acid or maybe that rhetoric is just lazy media and political bluster.

Here is the top of the Daily Mail today:

Daily Mail David Cameron

Daily Mail 9/2/12

If Lib Dems don’t use this in Focuses over the next couple of years then Focus editors are dumb. It was kinda nice for the PM to write our headlines for us…

The Lib Dems are making a difference. People might not think they are doing a lot but when the PM is making it clear that he wants to do so much more just holding him and his party back is quite an accomplishment for the Lib Dems. Yes as a Lib Dem I’d love to have more influence but for what 57 MPs the party are doing well to keep Cameron and Osbourne on a leash that won’t let them stray too far too the right. If we had let the leash go in May 2010 then who knows where we’d be right now?

Now is the time that the Lib Dems need to make it clear that they are not just underwriting the Tories. The economy is the number one priority and always will be but there are other issues and as long as the two parties can sing from the same hymn sheet on the economy then everything else can be openly and honestly debated.

It’s all fun n games isn’t it?

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Written by neilmonnery

May 9th, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Vince Cable was right – how many times can we say it today? Is 3,941,939 enough?

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Need I really say more?

I suppose I must.

Vince Cable has long been one of the most liked Lib Dems around. One thing everyone knew about Vince was that he wasn’t a huge fan of the Murdoch empire. None of the Lib Dems were. They never tried to curry favour with the empire unlike the other two main parties. Some argue that the only reason they didn’t was because the Murdoch’s saw the Lib Dems as insignificant but that is pure conjecture. These are the facts:

*The Lib Dems never liked the Murdoch’s.
*The Tories did like the Murdoch’s.
*Labour liked the Murdoch’s.
*Labour only stopped liking the Murdoch’s when the Milly Dowler phone-hacking case came to light and the national bandwagon of hate was rolling.
*Had the Telegraph not done that sting on Vince Cable then the Murdoch’s wouldn’t have the power they have today.
*Jeremy Hunt – who took over that role of deciding the Murdoch’s fate loved the Murdoch’s.
*Ed Miliband would have sacked Vince Cable for talking to people he believed where constituents regarding the nuclear option over the Murdoch’s.

Had David Cameron, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Jeremy Hunt, Ed Miliband or any of the top tier MPs from either the Labour Party or the Conservative Party worked out that the Murdoch media empire wasn’t exactly all sweetness and light and tried to regulate them then we wouldn’t have got to the state we are in today. The media are not trusted in large part due to the Murdoch’s and lack of regulation.

The banking crisis was due to a lack of regulation as well. That one lies at the foot of Labour who had their eyes off the ball thinking that the good times would never leave.

What we have learned is that regulation is an extremely important part of our world. Without good practice bad things will happen. Even if my day job industry of Search Marketing there are Black Hat and White Hat ways of working. Black Hat will be great short term but if Google catches up with you then bad times are ahead.

Vince – in retrospect – was foolish to talk freely knowing that journalists are everywhere but one thing he wasn’t was wrong. Vince Cable was right to be ready to block the Murdoch’s bid for Sky News. He was right to look at the empire with cynical eyes. James Murdoch is currently on my TV proving one thing and one thing only – he isn’t his father – and that isn’t a good thing. Rupert knew how to talk his way out of trouble. James can’t talk his way out of a paper bag and nor can he stop digging a hole for himself and his company and those who backed them.

The Lib Dems were on in bed with the Murdoch’s. The other two parties were constantly squabbling over who would get to sleep with them.

Whatever you think of the Lib Dems one thing is for sure. The Liberal Democrats always want a free press and believe in a free press. The other two parties are willing to deal with a non-free press as long as the slant is towards them…

Note: Murdoch’s, Murdochs or Murdochs’? That is the question.

BBC are happily going with Murdoch’s so I have decided to go with them. If they are wrong then so am I.

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Written by neilmonnery

April 24th, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Posted in Politics

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