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This #menagainstrape hashtag on twitter. Isn’t it all a bit pointless?

Is twitter going all Facebook on us? ‘93% of people won’t share this photo because they don’t care about cancer/the armed forces/midgets/bad acting in Eastenders ruining the thespians of the future and if you don’t share it then you are showing the world that you don’t care.’ We’ve all seen those things on Facebook and I ignore the lot and today on twitter there is a #menagainstrape hashtag that people are using to signal that they are against rape. All nice and dandy but aren’t all men broadly against rape just like they are against cancer et al like the Facebook things we see all the time?

To me is it just people saying ‘look at me – I’m against rape – aren’t I awesome?’ whereas the simple fact is people don’t really need to come out against rape as people are against it. It is a despicable act and whilst there are rapists out there most of them are actually against rape but then turn into rapists for whatever reason, be it alcohol, be it mentally unstable, be it whatever. I strongly suspect that if Les Dennis was running around asking 100 people whether they were against rape where there would not be more than one answer on the board.

Men are against rape. Women are against rape. Men think cancer is a disgusting disease that if possible should be cured. Women think cancer is a disgusting disease that if possible should be cured. Men think that bad acting in Eastenders is polluting the minds of young people who could grow up to be the next Patrick Stewart as do women. etc. etc. etc.

Now whilst I think publicly stating that you are against rape is pretty pointless and just pandering to the ‘I am’ society that we inhabit. What I am nearly as disturbed about are the amount of people that are praising how amazing the hashtag is and that it is making their view of men better and that the hashtag is helping them see not all men are actually pro-rape. I just don’t get it. Do people really think that because Julian Assange is fighting extradition to face rape charges and George Galloway thinks that having sex with someone when they are asleep is not rape that because they are both white men that they speak for all white men and therefore all white men couldn’t give two hoots about rape. I mean really?

Here’s a headline for people. Rape is evil and everyone knows it whether they be a man or a woman. Now of course some people still rape others but some people commit murder and everyone knows that is evil. Some people commit adultery with their husbands brother or with their wives sister. They know it isn’t what you should do but some people still do it.

I’m glad that some people’s faith in men is being restored because they are tweeting that they are against rape. If that makes some people feel better about the male of the species then hooray. I am just perplexed that some people need a hashtag on twitter to show then that indeed not every man is pro-rape. I’m glad that in my little bubble I believe in the good of people and that everyone knows right from wrong. If some people do wrong things then they did them knowing that they are wrong. That is how I see it anyway.

To sum up. I have a penis and a pair of bollocks and I am against rape. Do I need to tell the world that? No I don’t (but I am writing a blog on the subject so…) as the world already knows but heck if it is the cool thing on twitter and it is restoring faith in some people then men aren’t all secret rapists and go to rape parties then so be it. Sometimes I despair, I really do (actually I despair a lot). Do people really think that the overwhelming majority of men don’t think that rape is a evil thing to do…? I’d hate to have such a starting point in faith for mankind. If I did then I suspect I’d be depressed a lot of the time…

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Are All-Women Shortlists really a good thing for women in the long term?

Ah the old chestnut of All-Women Shortlists. It is a fun one. I posted the following over on SpeakersChair yesterday. I am posting this and then I plan to hide under the duvet for the rest of the day (well I don’t as the Grand Prix and Wimbledon are on and the big HD TV is not in my bedroom) but still you get what I mean. Saying you aren’t in favour of AWS generally doesn’t go down well but I think I have pointed out the reasons relatively fairly.

Oh well as Kel would say ‘awh here’s goes…’

Around the Southend based Labour blogosphere the talk of women in politics has resurfaced and the old ‘positive discrimination’ lark with regards to all women shortlists. It is always an enjoyable topic to blog on because I get shouted at a lot because I’m a man and therefore I am an idiot that can’t see the real picture. If I was a red-headed lesbian trying to break into politics and seeing what I was up against I’d know the real issues out there. Lucky for me I’m not because if I was red-headed (straight or not) ‘d not get anything done because I’d probably die of starvation looking at myself in the mirror (seriously why are all red-headed women hot – like all of them?) Anyway I have massively digressed and already pissed off 92.7% of people that will ever read this.

So here are the pieces that have inspired this piece – firstly Politics is sexist and I found that via a piece just called Women. I must say Julian’s title is rather simplistic but I think it gets to the point. Jack’s is quite blunt and has more than a ring of truth to it. Politics is sexist. I am not denying that (now only 88.1% of those reading this hate me) but the question is whether AWS is the way to fix this issue. I think it is well known that I do not believe that it is.

When Zadok Day blogged a piece about Ed Davey replacing Chris Huhne as a Liberal Democrat member of the cabinet he probably didn’t choose the best headline in the world of Opinion: Calm Down, Dears!. It was never going to lead to him being lauded as the face of a diverse Lib Dem Party. However large parts to what he wrote was pretty fair. I think there are certainly Lib Dem MPs who would make excellent cabinet members. I have no doubt – and I mean no doubt – that Jo Swinson would – and should – be the Scottish minister instead of Michael Moore. No offence Michael but I just think Jo would be brilliant in that role. However it is not me who makes these decisions.

In the case of the Lib Dems – and our all pale male cabinet members – it is Nick Clegg who decides who is best suited to the role. He knows all his MPs a lot better than I do. So either I have to think Nick Clegg is sexist or he isn’t. I choose to believe the latter. This of course may be wrong but I’m pretty sure I’m not although that might be the arrogance of another white male talking.

So anyway back to AWS and whether they need to used to create a more representational balance. The argument that is strongly used is that women need to see a plethora of other women being elected before they’ll think about it themselves. I just don’t get this. I won’t say I never will but the likelihood of me getting this argument is slim. I’m inspired by many women as well as men. I don’t feel the need to see a man do what I want to do before thinking that I can do it as well. The thing is many women are MPs and we’ve had a female Prime Minister and a female leader of the opposition (albeit briefly).

More needs to be done and the make-up of top-level politics is not fairly balanced but is a way to make it fairer by forcing certain parties in certain constituencies to only consider women? Now I’m against the quota system as a rule but I can see merits for it in certain situations – i.e. when South Africa returned to the sporting world and they ensured that at least one rugby player had to be black and two cricketers had to be black for a few years. This is because a group of people had been oppressed against. However there is no oppression against women in politics. It isn’t easy for many women but it’s not easy for many men either. Most people in politics have a lot of time and money on their hands.

I ran in Westborough here in Southend earlier this year and if everyone had an equal time, money and resources then I think there is no doubt Kevin Robinson would have won for Labour. As it turned out Kevin working insane hours and his independent opponent Dr. Vel being able to afford to take time off from work to doorstep and canvass enabled him to hold on to his seat. Is that fair? Does that need to be looked at?

One line of Ms Jack Monroe’s piece screamed at me though. It hollered and rattled by bones, ‘As a woman in Southend politics, I am surrounded by a lot of men and a few very good women.’ Did you see what I saw? There are a lot of men, ok that is fair and a few women but wait, there is an adjective thrown into that sentence. Yes the women are ‘very good’ whereas the implication is that men are not. If you want to press my buttons on feminism (and to be fair she describes herself as not a feminist in her blog post) but that sentence screams out the type of feminism that gives feminists a bad name. There are bad men, there are good men, there are good women but do you know what? That are also bad women in politics. Yes folks not every woman in politics is a benefit to the political world.

This is why I can’t abide by AWS. What happens if there are good candidates who get passed over for worse ones due to their gender? This happens. The problem is what if all the women who apply are terrible? What happens if these women win? (as usually AWS are only in safe seats where you could put a chimp with a red rose/blue rosette on and they would win). Does having a terrible MP so out of her depth do anything positive for the female cause? I know that is an extreme situation but it is also not one that is completely beyond the pale.

Good women will get into politics as will good men. Bad men will get in too as will bad women. That is the nature of the game. A friend of mine is currently relocating as it looks as though she’ll be a Lib Dem PPC in a winnable seat. I won’t name her in case she doesn’t want it to be public knowledge yet but she is set to get the nomination because she has worked bloody hard and spent a lot of time in the constituency doing what politicians have to do. Should she get the nomination then I know she’ll work just as hard and if she wins then she’ll be an asset to the country. I’m positive she wouldn’t have wanted it to be handed on a plate to her – and if it was then I doubt she’d be as good of an MP as she potentially can be.

I firmly believe that if things are in essence handed to you on a plate then you aren’t going to be as equipped to handle what is thrown at you. I think that it is far better for women in politics to work hard and slowly get more and more hard-working MPs in than to throw in a lot of people who have been picked and might not be ready. I think exactly the same about male MPs. MPs who have had to work hard will be better MPs who don’t. I just think this. Is it better to have lots of female MPs quickly who may or may not be the cream of the crop or is it better to slowly get women into the House of Commons who have earned it and shown that hard work and dedication pays off? I know I think the latter is the best way forward.

As an aside as I have waffled on for a fair while. If the House of Commons should reflect the make-up of the UK fairer then at what point to we draw the line? A 50/50 balance or so gender wise but what about sexual orientation? What about ethnic minorities? A significant number of the UK population are racists do they need to be represented too? It isn’t an easy one of that I’m sure but I just don’t think AWS are the way to go. All they’ll do is artificially inflate the amount of women in the chamber, what AWS doesn’t do though is ensure a better calibre of MP.

This was first posted on the SpeakersChair website

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26 comments on why the Lib Dems are in big big trouble

I am going to post ad verbatim the 26 comments currently as of 12:16PM on the article in Comment is Free entitled Why I quit the Liberal Democrats over NHS reforms by Graham Winyard.

I think they are worth a read. What I get from them is that very few people are actually pro-liberal and more anti-Tory and anti-Labour. People want radical change and even though a coalition is pretty radical for Britain the people don’t see it as a coalition. They see it as a Conservative government and blame the Lib Dems for everything. Not sure that makes too much sense but still.

If the Lib Dems did kill the NHS Bill would that change the minds of the electorate or would they say the Lib Dems should have done it sooner therefore blame them for that anyway? I think that is a good question and I’d love to see the NHS Bill as it is written to die just so I could see what actually happened with the electorate. In a way I feel they have already made their minds up. The Lib Dems could cure child poverty in the UK and still not get any credit but hey ho.

Read on for 26 comments on why the Lib Dems aren’t exactly flavour of the month.

Comment 1:

The problem with the Liberal Democrats is that to attain their goal of Power they have become all things to all men (and women).

If the any Liberal Democrat MPs had any sense of Decency they would resign from this Perverted Coalition and bring the Government down so that the People could elect a more Sane replacement.

Comment 2:

You’ve just quit the Lib Dems?

What took you so long?

Comment 3:

Better late than never – let’s hope more in your old party are to follow.

Comment 4:

Fair play to you.
I do hope many others in the party will see sense.
But Ive a hunch they will do as they’re told by the toffs

Comment 5:

Mr Winyard

I wish there were more like you. The Liberal Democrats had the opportunity to really make a difference yet they chose to support the Tories come what may. The Liberal Democrats have made it possible for the Tories to start the destruction of the NHS. There are not polite words to describe my contempt for the leadership and the likes of Shirley Williams always trying to give the impression that she cares only to follow the Party line at the end.

Comment 6:

Well done, couldn’t have been any easy decision but at least you have principles & honor. I hope others will follow you & join to stop the destruction & privatization of NHS!.

Comment 7:

If they carry on like this then they will continue to haemorrhage support so that by the time of the next General Election they will have to change their name to the “Bugger All Democrats”.

Comment 8:

(Why I quite over NHS reforms…)

Because you acted with commendable altruism, in the interests of the patients to whom your professional life was dedicated in a solemn bond of care and protection. If politicians knew anything of the meaning of public service, this ghastly scenario would never have arisen.

Comment 9:

And I thought you were all in it together?

Too little, too late…

Comment 10:

You quit the Liberal Democrats as soon as you joined in coalition with the far right wing fanatics that the Tory party has become…

What is liberal about the reintroduction of slave labour?

What is democratic about imposing a tranche of extreme Neo-Liberal free market policies such as the privatisation of the NHS, the Police etc that wasn’t in any manifesto and wasn’t voted for by a majority of the electorate…

You and your ilk sold everything you professed to believe in for a sniff of power… and we won’t forget

Go back to your constituencies and prepare for oblivion.

Comment 11:

Its a shame that there are not a few more, that have the morals and strength of character to stand up for the electorate.

Comment 12:

Then fair play and all due respect to you for taking a position in line with your principles.

Would that all politicians had such a sense of firm morality.

Comment 13:

I don’t know why you waited until our betrayal was completed by almost all of our MPs voting for the Bill. I say “our” but I left in late 2010 , convinced that we had sold our soul and got nothing in return.

I am still sure that there is no point in arguing from the inside – those inside , our MPs and Peers will be well rewarded with plum jobs in the City , in privatised firms and in consultancies. They have supped with the devil and they quite like his food

Comment 14:

Individuals quit the libdems but unless they are MPs that doesn’t help. The facts in this article were obvious from the start. And libdem opponents of the disastrous H&SC Bill should be in their Conference making trouble.

Comment 15:

The LibDems have played the game of coalition politics so badly its laughable. They’ve managed to deflect significant blame from the Tories (particularly in the early days) and provided a handy focus for frustrated labourites and their displaced rage at the unforgivable failure of New Labour’s historic opportunity.

What is amazing is the apparent failure by the leadership to anticipate any of this…

Comment 16:

Agree with every word Gordi.

Well done Mr Winyard for having the strength of your convictions – alas, I don’t think your actions will prevent this atrocious bill becoming law since your leader was seen vigourously in favour of it at last weeks PMQ’s.

On the LD front however, will the resignations of Mr Winyard, James Graham & Baroness Tonge be sufficient for Mr Clegg to recognise that becoming a tory is gong to disastrous for his party at the next general election.

I voted LD in 2010 – I never ever will do so again.

Comment 17:

I have just seen this footage of Lansleys visit to the Royal Free Hospital yesterday.

Found in the comments below

(there’s a big day of protest this Wednesday 7 March, including a march from BMA headquarters at 5:15 and from ULU student union about 5, a human chain around St. Thomas’ Hospital at 2, and a mass lobby of MPs during the day, with a rally at 6 in Westminster Central Hall)

Spread the word.

For anyone wishing to show support but who cannot get to London, there is a live stream of the TUC rally on March 7th & you can sign up to it here.

We must take the fight to the govt because if we don’t, out NHS as we know it will be gone before we know it.

Comment 18:

The Liberal Democrat conference is regularily ignored by the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives that currently control them. It demonstrates how powerless regular members are.

I’d recommend active people join the genuine members of the Liberal Democrats who have already have resigned, staying maintains the illusion assisted by the conference, that the party continues exists.

The only purpose of the remaining rump of the party is to keep the Conservatives in power.

Comment 19:

Lib Dems seem determined to make themselves unelectable. They will be blamed just as much as the Conservatives for the NHS reforms – probably even more as their ideology is contrary to a large section of the reforms they are allowing through.

Whenever the do something contrary to they politics or manifesto they blame the “Coalition agreement”. They had to introduce tuition fees because it “was in the Coalition Agreement”. This document is the excuse for everything they do that is unpopular. Then maybe they should read the “Coalition Agreement” section on the NHS – which says they will “Make the PCTs the patients champions” (nothing about privatisation, no closing down the PCTs, no massive top down re-organisation). So when it suits Cameron the Lib Dems just ignore the document they previously claimed to be the justification for everything.

If they allow the NHS reforms bill through it will undoubtedly be the end of the party as any sort of force in UK politics. I certainly wont be helping distributing leaflets, knocking on doors, etc. Their support will quickly evaporate.

OK, Clegg probably has a safe Tory seat organised somewhere but most of the others wont. They need to grow some backbone and pretty quickly or we revert to 2 party politics in the UK.

Comment 20:

Couldn’t sit on your integrity any longer?

Comment 21:

You can follow LibDem issues on LibDem Act and hear the views of other LiBDem activists, councillors and even occassional politicians.

Right now I’m torn between going for Labour and hoping their vast army of socialists and union folk can restrain Millipede and his cronies from pursuing further privatisation of the school and NHS systems, or following the Greens, who will inherit many LibDem votes in English national elections.

As usual the progressive vote will be split between a Labour leadership who looks increasingly to neoliberal beuacracy and worthy though poorly supported or funded minor parties.

Whatever the outcome, we can all rest assured the LibDems will end up with between 3-7 MPs in 2015, as shown in most major polls, a dead parliamentaty party.

Comment 22:

The fact that you stuck with such a shameful, traitorous party for so long says a lot. However, late is always better than never. Glad you’ve seen sense, lets hope more do the same.

Comment 23:

I spoke to one of the delegates at the weekends Scottish LibDem Conference last night.

She wasn’t happy with what she’d heard, and she isn’t the only one.

I’ve already commented on the conference on another thread, and she confirmed my impressions – the LibDems are finished in England, and the only way they will survive in Scotland is by breaking away from the London HQ and forming a separate, genuine LibDem/liberal/Social Democratic party.
The chat in the bars was that English-based LibDems should do the same, and before 2015.
The support is there. It just doesn’t have any representation in Government.

Clegg, party leader and Deputy PM, received a lukewarm welcome – empty seats, and muted applause. Many simply sat on their hands.
I think it would have been the same no matter where he was appearing.

Other speakers were well received :

Alex Cole-Hamilton, for example. He said that the decision to join with the Tories was :

“…. a colossal sell-out in our decision to enter government with the Conservatives. Power – at any cost ! Two years in we know something about power, but a lot more about cost.”
He went on to draw comparisons with those genuine liberals/LibDems of the past with today’s leadership.
It wasn’t nice.

Nigel Lindsay weighed in with comments about the abandonment of LibDem principles and policies, and how this has :

“…. caused bewilderment and dismay to many members…”, and to emphasise the point, he then listed all those abandoned policies and principles.
That wasn’t nice either.

Scotland has a long history of liberalism, especially in rural areas, and in 2010 the LibDems returned 11 MP’s to Parliament, and 9 were from rural constituencies.
A year later, the effects of the sell-out became obvious, and a mere 5 LibDem MSP’s were elected to Holyrood.
The LibDem vote had collapsed.

Those 11 MP’s will cease to exist in 2015, no matter what the result of the referendum is, but the feeling coming from the weekend conference is that some Scottish LibDem MP’s are already looking for safe Tory seats in England.

That’s how Clegg and his team are seen by the grassroots, and it will get worse.”

Comment 24:

I voted Lib Dem last time…. never again!

We’ve seen the Lib Dem poll number sink from low to mid 20s pre-election to single digits now. Not only did they totally trash the student supporter base they had so carefully and patiently worked to build up, they are now sitting next to a bunch of vipers who are selling off *all* the family silver without one word of consultation with the public.

I suspect any Lib Dem who defects now believes it’s over for their Political career anyway, so something must inspire them to do it and that’s not self interest. What have the ones that remain got to loose by clinging on? Sadly what we will not see nearly enough is of admissions similar to the writer above – it’s human to be misled, it’s human to make a mistake, but when the government proceeds to force on with Policies like the ones they have that are so fundamentally damaging to our country, we must assume those Lib Dem MPs have the same agenda as the Government – trash the country and flog the contracts quick. I wish any decent Lib Dems left out there finally twig the country needs saving from this administration and call time on it…. we will be 20 years recovering from this mess if they don’t!

Comment 25:

Strange. A mate of mine who has been a Liberal (and all its subsequent incarnations) since 1965 left the party the day Clegg simpered with Cameron in the garden.

Comment 26:

Yes, quitting the party seems to be an act of principle which others could follow if they listen to their consciences rather than the government propaganda.

It won’t change anything, though, will it?

Gordon Brown answered a legal challenge to the fact that New Labour put the party manifesto through the same shredder which ate Tony Blair’s expenses dockets with:

“The electorate cannot realistically expect a political party to honour its promises.”

The smoothly airbrushed face of Cameron looked down on the filthy little people from the billboards and they believed that the NHS would be safe in Neo Nasty hands.

This is part of the biggest heist in history.

This is the state abandoning the people and selling them down the river.

This is the insidious, ideological handing over of the welfare system – which everyone paid for over two generations – to the private sector.

This is UK Plc being absorbed into GlobalGov Corp.

This is part and parcel of the privatisation of the police and the enslavement of the people to £ multi-billion international corporations.

This is all possible because we live under an elective dictatorship which is forever owned by big business, whether the party in nominal power wears the rosette and bears the logo of Tory or LibDem or New Labour.

We have all seen the future – and it doesn’t work.

Which will not stop the government from ploughing ahead.

Because, to them, the will of the people and any and all professional groups you care to line up against them really don’t matter any more.

Try changing the government next time we all trundle out to vote and see what difference it makes.

As Peter Mandelson said, we are now living in a post-democratic age.

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The Perils of being a fan

Every so often here at The Rambles of Neil Monnery we put together a guest blog. This is one of those occasions. My old Journalism SIADian compadre Mr Sean Breslin has composed the following with his feelings on the Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra incident. He may well have a semi-regular football piece here on the blog in the near future. I hope you enjoy.

I would see myself as quite a placid, lucid almost intelligent individual but for at least three hours a week (more if my team loses) all those character traits go out of the window. I always thought theory of mellowing with age would be true for me, however it would appear when it comes to football and myself its just bollocks.

The tribal element of football is inbred into my DNA, growing up in a town in the middle of England where Celtic v Rangers means more than anything else hasn’t helped my usually calm disposition. I am not a fan of Scottish football it is more akin to Subbuteo than the beautiful game but I love going to the pub to sing songs or cheer on an ideology and faith that is embodied in a football club. Does this make me and 30 000 other people in the town bad people?

Personally I think not. Sport in its purest form has been and always will be a battle of ideologies and football highights it better than no other. Barcelona (socialist) and Real Madrid (capitalist), Celtic (catholic) and Rangers (protestant) and this season a previously tense but calm rivalry forged through industrial squabbles, Liverpool and Man United has suddenly exploded. I best state here and now I am a Liverpool fan and proud to be one too. Suddenly though to have pride in your club (or maybe just my club) seems to be taboo.

Over the last week’s I have grown frustrated at certain aspects of the whole case and these frustrations go against everything a placid, lucid intelligent person would think. Luis Suarez was wrong in his actions on that fateful October day, indeed Liverpool as a club were wrong on that December night in Wigan when they wore shirts in support of the Uruguayan, and it is with that action the intelligent thinking begins to stop. I defy any fan to honestly say when they saw those t-shirts they didn’t think ‘yes boys! lets get behind him and show the rest what for!’.

The ban commences and form dips, suddenly we are pining for his return. Then the two rivals meet and in the stands, one man’s racist and another man’s culturally misunderstood hero is seen by the whole world celebrating wildly when his team score a late winner. Bang, all intelligence has gone out of the window its now adoration for him, clubs and fans love a controversial hero (the criminally convicted and jailed Eric Cantona, anyone?)

And so to this weekend which started badly for me when I journalist i greatly respect Patrick Barclay, makes references a sickening reference to the Heysel disaster on twitter, I just had a sense this was going to be a shit weekend. The match in which the best team and I would think likely champions won easily was just a sideshow to the panto that has since broken out. Here is where my peril lies, lets put some points reasonable arguments out there. Yes, Suarez was wrong and should have shaken Evra’s hand. Yes, Dalglish was wrong when his now infamous interview didn’t quite go to plan and even Ferguson was right to label Suarez a disgrace. Then today the club, its manager and striker were right to apologise for yesterday’s events.

But football doesn’t always make sense and as a fan despite all the intelligent sensible arguments I find myself angry at those apologies today. Not once throughout the entire story so far did the higher echelons of the club make a statement, so why now? Surely it would have been right to make their feelings known when Luis was found guilty, not when he refuses to shake the hand of someone he claerly has no time for. It just does not make sense.

Why does Dalglish apologise for a bad interview, his counterpart refused to speak to the state broadcaster for several years but found no reason to apologise for that. And then there is Luis, his apology I understand to a point, the point where there has to be a line drawn and now is the time. But as a betting man I will not be putting a fiver on Ferguson apologising to Liverpool for telling them how to deal with their assets, when his sentiments only ratchet the fever up further.

This is the peril of being a fan, despite intelligent arguments, passion and the love of one’s club will win through. But as a personal hero John Barnes said last night on ESPN, ‘there are much more important things going on in this country today, and football teams or players are not the custodians of moral value in this world’. If they were then this country would be a disastrous place.

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The Daily Mail is bad but the people who comment on Daily Mail articles…

The people who read the Daily Mail are really quite awesome. You wonder if these people know anything about the world or whether their whole view of the world is formed thanks to what they read in said newspaper. I was pointed towards a piece entitled Is a super-volcano just 390 miles from London about to erupt? which is the ideal Daily Mail type story. The super-volcano bit interested me but the 390 miles from London bit seemed a bit desperate – but hey – you gotta do what you gotta do eh DM?

So anyway I read the piece which to be fair is pretty poorly researched. The evidence used is weak to the extreme and it is totally scaremongering. Usually I’d read and move on but a couple of comments caught me eye. Firstly this…

Yes seriously. The fact that there might be a super-volcano in Germany that is due to explode means that we need to pull out of the EU. If we pull out of the EU then any potential ash cloud will stop at our borders out of respect for our sovereignty. Being in the EU is endorsing our support of super-volcanoes. I despair I really do but the next one I despair for two reasons…

Firstly I despair that the commenter can’t spell the word ‘bankers’ which is quite a depressing scenario but I despair even more that 15 people (as of the time of taking the screenshot) gave it a thumbs up. Yes we should put the bankers in the super-volcano because they’ll save the day and stop the explosion and ash cloud reaching us and they’ll be heroes. Or is it just 15 people saying they want to kill bankers for no real reason?

The Daily Mail makes me sad but a significant percentage of those who comment make me weep for mankind.

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‘Letter of Truth #001 – The Truth about war in Libya’

The Rambles of Neil Monnery was delighted and teary eyed when the staff received an e-mail from one of Gaddafi’s men pleading with us to get the truth out. All the reporting and excellent journalism we have been treated to was just western fallacy – a ruse to make all us idiot westerners believe that what we were doing what was right. Clearly though that is not the case and with no bias at all this e-mail from a Gaddafi loyalist will clear up any misinterpretations that we may have had.

I will obviously post the e-mail I personally received ad verbatim and it really is an honour to be hand picked to receive this e-mail. It’s not like it was just spam sent to 1000s of others – oh no of course not. This is the truth people. Sometimes I wonder if we can even handle the truth.

So please read this engulfing tale and start changing your opinions. Or not. I’m easy either way but Libyan war spam is my favourite kind of spam – but I hate spiced ham so that’s not hard. I have not hyperlinked any of the links mainly because it’s all bullshit but hey – if you want to read any of it then knock yourself out.

Dear citizens!
It’s the Letter of Truth, the Open Letter.
Read it and re-sand it to another people: to Media, to the governments, to citizens.
The Truth is for all!
All we have been shown by so-called official media about the events in Libya is a lie. Here is the Truth:
The war in Libya is carried out by NATO forces, with the support of a corrupt bureaucracy of the UN, according to the CIA plans. This is a real destruction of the socialist country. The war is far from being won, as the various politicians and media – members of an international gang, backed up by the global banking oligarchy, rush to assure us.
The war is going on. Today, right now the heroic people of Libya resist with all their might. Army of Libya has been restored under the leadership of Qaddafi and his sons and now is in active hostilities.
At the same time, the bandits are eliminating all the black population, killing without trial. There is real genocide of indigenous people in the heart of Africa – under the guise of NATO and with the acquiescence of most international organizations for human rights – Amnesty International, Human Rights Court at the United Nations (ECHR), etc.
At this point, the bandits surrounded the cities of Beni Walid, Sirte. These cities are under siege, they have neither electricity, nor water, medicines, food. Every day, 24 hours a day, NATO planes bomb the cities from a safe distance using sometimes prohibited weapons: phosphorous bombs, depleted uranium bombs, mustard gas, sound, cluster bombs. There is a possibility that atomic bombs can be used! In the cities there are many dead and wounded people, this is real genocide happening right now! Humanitarian catastrophe!

UN and NATO are CRIMINAL ORGANISATIONS, which have finally put themselves outside the law by this war. They treacherously attacked Libya, without declaring war, in order to capture all of its resources (including oil, gas, huge territory and vast reserves of fresh water), destroying infrastructure and population, under the false slogan of bringing “democracy”. All of them are – CRIMINALS! INTERNATIONAL MAFIA!

Al-Qaeda nourished, armed and trained by US is acting on the side of the NTC and NATO – rapes, murders, cuts the throats and threatens to organize a radical Islamist state in Libya!
Prisoners of war and wounded people are being killed! This is completely against all rules and conventions, and simply against any human morals!
Since the beginning of the conflict more than 60,000 Libyans have been killed. There are thousands and thousands of refugees, destroyed hospitals, schools, houses, and the entire infrastructure. The “revolutionaries” kill old men, women and children. And they want us to believe that they have won the war? This is ridiculous and pathetic:
Take another look at all this! Can’t you see what you have done?
Maybe you’re just crazy? Then your place is in a psychiatric clinic! Or you are the forces of Satan? Open your eyes! Come to the path of good, it is not too late! Write the truth! Tell the truth! Repent! And maybe, someday, we will forgive. Find the strength. Awaken your conscience and humanism. Anything else? Brain, finally. Otherwise, you’re all done for!


False mass media. Many of the videos were filmed in Qatar, in an open-air pavilion with extras, and have no relation to the real events. Specifically, the material on the capture of Tripoli:
Lying about the reason for the attack, saying that Gaddafi allegedly shot a peaceful demonstration does not hold water. Amnesty International found no trace, no witnesses, that the troops fired on protesters Libya:
Moreover, it is a lie that so-called “protesters” were “peaceful” – they were well armed by NATO and by some authoritarian monarchies such as Qatar, Jordan. All the weapons were new, in packages, and the latest models from around the world, but most of the weapons were American. There were even the latest weapons, which have not been taken into service in the U.S. – can you guess where the bandits could get it from?
Many “demonstrators” – were mercenaries, bandits from around the world, particularly from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It is a lie that the war had been won by the coalition. Here are operational reports:
It is a lie that Gaddafi did not want negotiations………….
It is a lie that according to NATO none of the civilians was killed. Look! It is not for the faint of heart. People are still dying right now – in Bani Walid, Surt, Sabha, and in the rest of Libya:
You hide the fact that NATO bombed schools and hospitals, houses belonging to civilians, and the rebels under the guise of NATO devastate entire cities:–DH47IUYRUdcoPUZg/
You are hiding the fact that NATO is using dirty bombs, chemical weapons and cluster bombs – it is also your lies and a huge crime!:
You hide the genocide of the black population of Libya! The majority of the population of the south is black. Their cities destroyed and the inhabitants driven out and entire families are cut out. Many of the black people were working in Libya, and have no relation with the army. But after the pro-NATO mass media announced that Gaddafi had allegedly had black mercenaries, bandits started killing all the black African! Where are you, anti-racist organizations? The African Union? Afro-American media? Africans living in Europe – have you seen? Look!:
You hide the murder, torture, shooting, cutting throats of the wounded, prisoners of war, just civilians who “the revolutionaries” meet on their way!:
You hide the huge losses of the coalition troops – NATO troops and the Gulf countries (Kuwait, UAE, Jordan). But they are your children, Americans, Europeans, now they are coming back home, in coffins, and how many more to come? Is that what you wanted? Is it what you pay your taxes for? Do you know how big the losses of France, Great Britain, USA, Italy, Qatar are? Sure you know all this …
You lie about the true reasons for the war – the Libyan resources and the Libyan money:
People all over the world are collecting materials for the tribunal over you. A lot of photographic and video material! Obama, Sarkozy, Cameron, Emir of Qatar, NTC – look! This is what YOU have done! Are you happy?:
You are hiding information about the protests against the war and NATO’s aggression:
5 million Libyans out of 6 support of Gaddafi!
You hide the fact that there are leaders of some countries with conscience and honour that 8 countries in Central America condemned the military intervention and unlawful entry of NATO forces in Libya and are trying to defend Libya in the UN:
And there’s more! This time NATO after mustard gas, cluster bombs and other prohibited weapons might use nuclear weapons against Sirte and Beni Walid!
Other sites, with regular news on Libya and Syria:
A list of sites:
So, WE all know that already. Soon everyone will know about it! And YOU? What do You not know about it?
The massacre in Libya will be stopped in the nearest future. The tribunal will be convened in Libya, where they will investigate all your crimes! The leaders of NATO, UN leaders who have recognized the NTC, bank managers, who blocked the money of the sovereign state, and all those who supplied the weapons to the bandits, trained, coordinated
them, military leaders and those who took part in operations against a sovereign Libya, mass media who distributed lies and slander, you will soon answer for your crimes!
We understand that to some extent you are have been taken hostages by the international $$ gang. You think nothing can stop them. And you are scared.
This is the beginning of the end of your dirty and deceitful world, our golden calf and interest rates, and the oppression! Your wars are coming to end too!

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Do you like coffee more than electricity?

Well it seems as though the average person pays more per year in coffee than they do it electricity bills. This (to me) quite staggering revelation came out yesterday and there is more detail in this report in the Daily Mail.

As a nation we consume 511million cups of coffee a week nationwide. Now my crude maths tells me that adds up to an average of around nine cups each a week but of course not everyone drinks coffee so when you take out the coffee drinkers then that average explodes. People often ask me how I save money and not spending £20-30 quid on coffee is one easy way to save the best part of £100 a month. Yep when you work it out that is what the average coffee drinker is spending a month on coffee. That is an insane amount. I probably spend double that for all my groceries in a month.

I know that as a nation we have migrated from tea and coffee is now the drink of choice. I drink neither but I’m weird. I probably get through a bottle of squash a day so say that’s a quid when you balance out all the special offers etc… so that is £30 odd a month of my liquid intake. As a non alcohol drinker as well this all helps as my liquid intake is juice and water and that is it. Really saves the pennies. If people sat down and worked out what they spent a month on coffee and alcohol it could easily be 10-20% of their income.

The headline though is the electricity one. We all need electricity and we are use using it like it is going out of fashion. We all complain vigorously when the energy companies put up the cost of gas and electricity seemingly every year but when you take a step back and look at your outgoings and more money is going on a luxury caffeinated beverage than electricity then it is hard to really get worked up.

The fact on average we Brits spend more a year on coffee than we do on electricity just flabbergasts me. It really does. Just think of all you could do with the money you didn’t spent on coffee…

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Monday Morning Football Opinion

I’m sitting at my PC late on Sunday night (by the time I post this it should be Monday – hence the title) with little to do as I wait for the clock to tick round to midnight for work purposes so I thought I’d post a few random football thoughts after the weekends games.

Kanu? Up top on his own? Are you freaking kidding me Steve Cotterill?

I actually watched the JPT draw with intent hoping Southend would get a home draw so I’d get an extra game to commentate on a fortnight on Tuesday. They did. Southend United v Crawley Town will be played on Tuesday 30 August with a 19:45 k/o (in all likelihood – not confirmed yet) so that should be my next game behind a microphone. Result!

Premier League wise I was really disappointed by Arsenal at Newcastle. I thought they showed nothing against Newcastle. They just seemed a bit toothless like they still haven’t got over the Carling Cup hangover and it has been half a year. Deeply concerned for them unless they really go out and spend the money on a top drawer creative midfielder.

Liverpool too were disappointing only drawing with the Mackems at home but I wasn’t too shocked by Chelsea only getting a draw at Stoke. Stoke will be a decent team this year again and if they can keep Jonathan Woodgate fit (big if I know) them that might be the best bit of business in this transfer window.

Speaking of keeping fit all of us at The Rambles of Neil Monnery wish Kieron Dyer another speedy recovery. This man makes Darren Anderton looks like a fitness freak.

Manchester United looked good and I love the Ashley Young signing for them but at times they were being overrun in the midfield by West Brom. A team like Arsenal (at their pomp) would roll straight through the heart of that midfield.

QPR. Yeah it was nice of you guys to come up.

Lastly Real Madrid are going to give Barcelona everything they can handle this season. I know the first leg of the Kings Cup ended 2-2 but Real were terrific and looked like they are ready to really challenge Pep’s side this year. That race might be genuinely thrilling.

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F1 sells it’s soul

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, and

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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BCCI dig heels in over DRS and the more they do – the more they ruin cricket.

I get more and more annoyed with the BCCI. They are trying to ruin the game of Cricket by forcing the ICC to change the DRS system and with the first test between England and India starting on Thursday it has come out that umpires will be making all lbw decisions without any technological help No hawk-eye, no hot-spot or even the tramlines on screen to help the third umpire see where the ball pitched and struck a batsman.

Basically it is completely down to the umpires and whilst umpiring has become much better in recent years – a lot of that is down to the DRS allowing umpires to go more with their gut knowing that they could overturn a decision if wrong. It has increased the correct decisions to 97-98% instead of 92-94% that is was before.

I must say that I love DRS and all the technology that cricket has been using for the past few years. The one thing that doesn’t work is catches and the foreshortening of the lens when they go to replay. Players know instinctively whether they have caught the ball or not and players/umpires need to rely on what the catcher says unless the replay shows and obvious lie from the player – i.e the video below when Philip Hughes claimed a catch off Alistair Cook despite the fact he knew it didn’t carry.

There was an incident in the T20 at Chelmsford the other night when Scott Styris caught a Kent batsman – I think it was Darren Stevens – at third man with a wonderful tumbling catch. It was a catch but the players refused to take Styris’ word for it and the replays showed some doubt in the eyes of the third umpire and it was given not out. I know it was out – I know it was a good catch. Anyone who had played cricket to any standard knows a good catch when they see it but the onus as the rules are written are that the third umpire has to be 100% sure – not 99% sure of a catch. This is the only way when in my opinion technology harms the sport.

With no DRS we’d have no reversal of big obvious errors like the video below when Michael Clarke hit the cover off the ball to short leg and didn’t walk and was not given out by the umpire.

To sum up the BCCI’s stubborness is a disgrace and the way the ICC is cow-towing to it sickens me. I can’t wait until the great Sachin Tendaulkar is in his 90s at Lords and gets given out on an absolute shocker that TV replays would overturn. I wonder what they’ll be saying then and also I have a sneaky feeling a lot of cricket fans around the world will be hoping for the same.

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