Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Yes, but what is it you actually want?

I'm sat here watching Sky News' coverage of the latest strike cum tear-up in Greece. A crushing realisation has dawned upon me.

Firstly, this whole episode is self-perpetuating and can only end one way. One of two things will happen. The Greek parliament will vote through the latest austerity measures and get the bail out. People will keep striking, the goverment may come down, but it doesn't matter because whoever takes their place will be in exactly the same situation. It'll happen again in October. Maybe they'll get another bail out, certainly sooner or later they'll go to the well to find it empty and Greece will have option but default. Or, parliament will vote down the austerity measures, the government will resign, but it doesn't matter because whoever takes their place will be in exactly the same situation and Greece will default.

The powers that be in the EU and the IMF will argue this is not the case until the cows come home but it is utterly predictable in its inevitability.

But what is it the Greek public want?

Well, here are the stats Sky are running in their report on Greece:

  • The average retirement age in Greece is 61 - but millions of workers in public and private sectors retire at 50. (Life expectancy - 79)
  • Whilst paying out pensions, the Greek government has failed to generate incomes to cover this cost. Tax evasion seems to be a national sport. Only 5,000 Greeks declare an income of over €100k (£89k). Self declared income is rarely challenged and loses the Greek economy an estimated £13bn a year.
So, the Greeks are out on the street demonstrating against increases in taxes nobody pays, an increase in the retirement age which is ignored by over 10 years at any rate, and a cut in spending which, as the current situation shows, even with large reductions already put in place, the Greeks haven't a hope of funding anyway.

So what do the Greeks want? Well, I can draw only one conclusion; they want to continue retiring at 50 on a state pension, pay no tax, have all their services and have somebody else pay for it.

Well, you know what?

Fuck you.

This isn't the fault of greedy bankers, corrupt politicians or evil big business. This is your fault. Oh granted the politicians made the pension laws, they spent the cash, they didn't collect the taxes, but who put them there? You did. Did you not think at any point 'there's something wrong here, I'm only paying €100 tax a year, how can we afford this?'

And then complacently and selfishly you came up with the answer. 'You'll pay for it.'

Did you really think your EU masters would just hand over the cash without condition? Fools. They own you now. Protest all you like. Burn your cities to the ground for all I care, it will make no difference. Your politicians will continue to pass laws, but they've yet to enforce any of the fiscal laws they put in place thus far, why would they start now? Either the IMF, ECB or EU will slam the door shut, or the market will. Why the hell should I pay for your laziness and greed?

That being said, you also have my thanks, because your actions appear to have holed this horrible, authoritarian, corrupt and greedy European project below the waterline. Let's hope the hull breach expands further.

OK, I'll admit it, I was wrong.

I'm guilty of a terrible misinterpretation of the realities of life. All this time I've been banging on about how we should leave the EU, and I didn't realise that by following this course of action I'm trying to kill lots of little birdies.

No really.

A wildlife has warned that EU budget cuts could force some animal species into extinction.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is worried the scrapping of EU payments to farmers using techniques to protect and encourage vulnerable species will have catastrophic effects.

I think that what the report means to say is 'A wildlife charity', but I'll let them off.

If the funds are removed from the EU budget proposals, which are being announced on Wednesday, June 29, the charity fears declining species in Kent such as the grey partridge, the lapwing and the tree sparrow will suffer.

Martin Harper, the RSPB's conservation director, said: "Our countryside has faced many threats, but this would be really savage.

Oh come on, are we supposed to believe that if EU funding cuts come to pass that the farmers, people who really do understand their place in the grand scheme of things, people who have an innate appreciation of nature and how it all fits together, is going to say 'fuck 'em' and bulldoze all the habitat?

And are we really supposed to believe that funding from the EUSSR is the only way this catastrophe can be avoided?


Hang on, what EU budgetary cut?

The European Commission is proposing a 4.9% increase in EU spending next year - boosting the euro-budget by £5.5 billion to £117 billion. 
No, there's something fishy going on here.
I wonder where the RSPB. . . 

In 2010 RSPB reported received a staggering £22.6 million in public money, including:
  • Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs: £4.5 million
  • Landfill Communities Fund: £2.3 million
  • European Union: £2.1 million
Ah, I see.

Sorry guys, this party's over.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Well, shucks.

Police said the stabbed man was found on Hospital Road and died a short time later.

Ch Supt Kevin Mulligan, who heads Greater Manchester Police's Salford division, said the man suffered "at least one stab wound" during an altercation in the house involving at least one person from the address and four people breaking in.

He said he could not comment further on the injuries or the cause of death until a post-mortem examination had been carried out.

Jesus, so four people break into someone's house and the householder gets stabbed to death?

Well, no, not exactly.

A burglar has been stabbed to death and the householder arrested on suspicion of murder after an attempted break-in at his house in Salford.

Four masked men attempted to get into a house in Ethel Avenue before midnight on Wednesday.

So, four masked men broke into someone's house and one of the intruders got stabbed and died. Well, them's the breaks, the stabber was probably scared out of his wits. The fact that there was only one stabee and that he only got stuck once would suggest that this was not a frenzied, rage fuelled attack of revenge. Preditcably:

Peter Flanagan, 57, son Neil, 29, and his son's girlfriend are being held.

The men and the 21-year-old woman are being questioned on suspicion of murder.

I cannot and do not support the death penalty, but if you and three mates mask up and break into someone's house, all bets are off. This, from the evidence at hand, seems to be a clear case of defense of property and life. In my opinion, a murder charge is not appropriate.

It is possible that the CPS will go for manslaughter, but even though the defender may end up escaping a jail term, he or she will still be stuck with a criminal record that could effect their life for the rest of their days. It seems unfair in the extreme to me.

Meanwhile over the pond:

No problem for law enforcement over there, and quite right too, you cannot cross someone's threshold and expect to be protected. IF the homeowner is lying in wait with the plan to kill the intruder, that is different, but in my opinion in a heat of the moment reaction there should be only one outcome. No charge.

Just to show there's no honour amongst thieves:

The stabbed man, 26, is believed to have been carried away by the other intruders as they fled, before being dumped in a street in Pendlebury.


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Not alone.

You sometimes get the impression that those of us who wish to be out of the EU are the fringe of the fringe, it's certainly an impression which is put forward by the media, even if subliminally. You'd think that anti-EU sentiment is the preserve of some sort of bizarre little Englander set, in the minority nationally and at total odds with the population of Europe.

I've never accepted the former, this is why successive governments have never given us a referendum on the subject, they're scared that a vote for getting us out would be carried. They'll give some excuse about how referenda are not British, whilst then abandoning other British institutions to the EU. I've heard people say that it is too complicated for us to understand, this unsurprisingly from a LibDem member who also tried to persuade me that referenda were undemocratic, as people could be persuaded by the antis to vote against our continued membership. Funnily enough I've never heard the argument against being that support for our membership was so overwhelming that you might as well hold a referendum on whether we send murderers to prison.

We're conditioned to believe that if we want to leave the EU, we're out of step with opinion across the continent, and when all else fails, we'll just be labelled racists.

I was encouraged with a conversation that I had with a French woman very recently where we discussed membership of the EU.

'Don't.' She spat. 'Don't talk to me of the EU. It disgusts me.' I was a little taken aback, after all, are we not to believe that mainland Europe kneels weeping tears of joy and gratitude in-front of the blue flag with the yellow stars? I thought she was going to give the old reformer line of it being a wonderful organisation which is hampered by poor administration. Not a bit of it.

She went on to explain to me that she was European, in the same way that a Bolivian is South American or a Malaysian is Asian, it certainly wasn't her nationality though. 'I am French.' She stated simply. 'European is not my nationality.'

She went on to tell me how she missed the Franc and desperately wanted it back, how she felt that any control over her economy had been given away. She told me about how the French tricolor is the most beautiful flag in the world, and how upset she was at it being supplanted by the EUro flag at every turn, a flag she has no emotional link or loyalty to.

She told about how she wanted her country back. Not, she was at pains to add, from the Algerians or West Africans, but from those who have stolen it away from the people of France irrespective of ethnicity. She commented that she didn't hate Germany or England, why should she? But she was French. She said 'I am human, but it doesn't mean I hate elephants and tigers.'

'There are many of us' she said with a sigh. 'But they will not let us be heard. We grow in number. I think we are the majority, but it is the farmers and the city resident liberals who elect the politicians, the farmers have been bought and the Parisiens hate the rest of France, they think they are France.'

This may not be representative, but I wonder how many people in Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Poland and everywhere else think this, and how poorly they are represented in government.

Then I look at Libya, Syria, Yemen and fear the worst.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Absolutely barking.

Omid Djalili makes the observation that when there is a controversy regarding Islam, the media will usually wheel out a chap nominated as a representative of the Muslim community who waves his arms about while ranting and raving and behaving like a general lunatic.

The hardline Jewish reps tend to be a little more palatable for Western consumption. Whilst they are just as hateful and hardline as their Islamic counterparts, they aren't so manifestly bonkers. Or are they?

A Jewish rabbinical court condemned to death by stoning a stray dog it feared was the reincarnation of a lawyer who insulted its judges, reports say.


The dog entered the Jerusalem financial court several weeks ago and would not leave, reports Israeli website Ynet.

It reminded a judge of a curse passed on a now deceased secular lawyer about 20 years ago, when judges bid his spirit to enter the body of a dog.

These are important people in their community. This man, a judge, a person who is supposed to deal in fact, thinks it is the reincarnation of a lawayer who said a bad thing, probably something along the lines of 'you're all nuts, you lot.'

One of the judges at the court in the city's ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighbourhood had reportedly asked local children to carry out the sentence.

One of the judges what? Are you telling me that a community leader set up a bunch of kids to stone a dog to death because he thought it was the reincarnation of a lawyer?

What chance do these kids have?

Another demonstration of why religion is still a dark age practice where people demand that others live their lives by someone else's interpretation of a superstition and should be pointed and laughed at at every opportunity, and why I'm convinced that the best way to deal with both sets of nutters on this landmass is to starve them of cash and supplies and just let them get on with it.

There's no reasoning with people like this, none at all.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Oh they will, will they?

A minor boiling of the blood as I saw this on Facebook this afternoon:

'Every smoker knows that one day he will have to quit. Either voluntarily or involuntarily.'

Is that a threat? Involuntarily? How does that work then? Are a crack squad of antirauchennazi going to kick my door in and wrestle me to the ground whenever I spark up? I do hope so, because if they're not quick enough they'll drop stone dead as soon as I exhale. These guys must be on serious danger money.

Oooh, what's that I spy? There's a little. . . thing. . . in the corner of the clever little logo which looks like a stubbed out ciggie. Ah, yes it would be the EU, wouldn't it? I thought I'd have a little look, see what they're all about.

You can't display the content while I'm viewing Facebook over a secure connection? What's going on here? The EU wants me to view one of their Facebook apps by surrendering my secure connection? Let me just go to the kitchen drawer and get my tin-foil hat.

This isn't the EU trying to covertly harvest data from Facebook, is it? That would be a low trick. I wonder how many people fell for that?

So, out of a population of 500 million, 55 people have decided to 'like' this. I bet they're doing the conga around the corridors of Minitruth about that.

Unstoppable? More like unstartable.


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Well, you asked for it.

Hey, you. Yes, you! Want a tenner?

It's yours. Well, it's not yours, but you can have it. You deserve it.

Of course what you don't realise is that the tenner I'm giving you is actually yours. It was to start with, what I've done is promised everyone a tenner, but some people don't have a tenner to start with, so in order to give everyone a tenner I have to take a tenner and a fiver from those who do have the cash to start with.

People like getting tenners. Because people like it so much, they vote for me. They still haven't realised that it was their tenner in the first place.

I've had an idea. Perhaps if I promise people two tenners, more of them would vote for me. Hmmm, yes, I like that. What do I care that I actually don't have all these tenners? What do I care that if you add up all the tenners in the country, it doesn't actually equal all the tenners I've promised to shell out? By the time everyone's realised what's happened, I'll have stepped down or been kicked out in favour of the bloke who has promised everyone three tenners.

All of a sudden, all the people I borrowed tenners from to give to you, on the promise of them getting their tenners back, plus a fiver, based on the fact that the magic money pixie will pay a visit, want their tenners back.

Oh dear. I've got no tenners.

All of a sudden people are getting angry. The people I borrowed the tenners from are asking 'where's my bloody tenner?' All the people I promised tenners to are asking 'where's my bloody tenner? You told me it was mine. I demand my tenner, or I'm going to smash the place up. My tenner, my tenner, you said, miiiiiiiiiiine!'

But you know what? Here's the really good bit. All those tenners I borrowed? I didn't borrow them in my name, oh no, I borrowed them in yours. Clever, isn't it?

And then, and then, when everyone gets really cross, I get together with all the other tenner promisers and set up a unity government. What this means is that all the people who were promised tenners will be faced with a choice at the next election of voting for someone who promised them a tenner, can't deliver on that promise and wants them to pay two tenners for the tenner that they gave their dad, or for someone who promised them a tenner, can't deliver on that promise and wants them to pay two tenners for the tenner that they gave their dad.

OK, it may not be me, but it will be one of my friends that wins, and we are all friends really, even if we pretend we're not.

Tenners all round!

Greece really is screwed.

Monday, 13 June 2011

But hey! Don't worry!

Reuters report that Standard & Poor's have downgraded Greece's sovereign debt down three notches to 'Run away, far away and quite fast at that'.

Making it the lowest credit rating held by a nation in the world.

That's the world.

That's a European country, in the 21st Century, with a worse credit rating than North Korea, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Zimfuckingbabwe and, well, everywhere.

They are more screwed than the wife of the brother of a media-shy Premier League footballer on her wedding night.

Funnily enough, EUroparl has nothing to say about this. But then why should they when there is such joyous news? Rejoice, rejoice in the highest for I bring glad tidings!

Parliament on Wednesday gave its green light for Bulgaria and Romania to join the Schengen border check-free area. MEPs say they have met the entry conditions, based on progress reports, but . . .

I dunno, there's always a but, isn't there? Tsk!

add that Parliament should be kept informed of additional measures taken in the Bulgaria-Turkey-Greece area to cope with a possible surge in migration pressure.

Yeah, because people aren't going to go any further than non-EU Turkey, bankrupt Greece and (frankly bizarre) Bulgaria, are they? No siree, the Iraqis, Kurds and Turks aren't going to dream of crossing the borders, are they? They're all going to settle down in wonderful, wonderful Plovdiv.

Likewise, no-one from Moldova or Ukraine would dream of hopping through Romania to the west of the continent, which is so conveniently signposted 'free money'.

No, no problems at all. Especially as Romania and Bulgaria don't feature at numbers 69 and 73 respectively in Transparency International's corruption index below the likes of Rwanda, Ghana and (gulp) Tunisia, Saudi and Bahrain. 

Meanwhile the Croats (or at least their politicians, I don't know if the ratification of any treaty is subject to a popular referendum there, for their sake I hope it is) have signed their own death warrant by being granted entry to a club where making an application should be grounds for black-balling in the first place.

Looking north, the Danes appear to have at least realised there is a sum sat in front of them, waiting  to be done, even if they haven't got round to working out what 2+2 is equal to. They'll get there in the end, bloody good luck to them. Oh, sure the usual 'extreme right wing' and 'racist' tags will be strewn liberally around, but once you realise this is the only weapon the EUrophiles have, it doesn't hurt.

The lot of them, they're bloody mad.

Can we leave yet?

Thursday, 9 June 2011

What happens when they've sold everything?

The European Central Bank said on Thursday it opposed forcing private creditors to take part in debt relief for Greece, pushing back against Germany, which has demanded a bond swap to lengthen Greek debt maturities.

Errrrm. . .
ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet signalled the hard line at the bank's monthly news conference, as new figures from Athens showed the Greek economy shrank by 5.5 percent in the first quarter of the year, a far sharper rate than expected.

5.5%? 5.5 bloody percent? Sweet Mary, mother of Jesus and all the baby orphans. Can you imagine the triumphalism if our economy managed to grow by that much in one quarter? 5.5% is a bloody catastrophe.
The data cast fresh doubt on Greece's ability to meet targets for cutting its budget deficit, part of a 110 billion euro (97.6 billion pound) bailout agreed with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in May last year.

I'm not bloody surprised, the country is bleeding to death. How on Earth have they ended up being down so much that even almost £100bn gifted to them doesn't solve the problem?
The EU is now considering another aid package for Athens, and euro zone sources told Reuters on Thursday the new deal would total about 120 billion euros, with the EU and IMF providing up to half of that sum and the rest coming from Greek privatisation revenues and private creditors.

So that totals £200bn give or take. That is an unimaginable figure. It's all very well talking about privatisation revenues, but does the Greek government (and by that we really should say the Greek people) own assets amounting to £50bn? Even if they did, how would they ever expect to reach that revenue total given that the whole thing promises to be a fire sale of epic proportions?
Moody's Investors Service warned a Greek default could impact the ratings of Ireland and Portugal, the two other euro zone countries that have required bailouts.

So if the Greek people dig their heels in, they could bring down Ireland and Portugal? Bloody hell.
The ECB, the European Commission and countries including France have warned against any Greek debt restructuring that involves coercion of investors, for fear that it could alarm markets and spread contagion to bigger members of the euro zone such as Spain.

And Italy, and probably everybody else involved in the currency.

Greece has to default, it is the only way they stand a chance to recover. Voluntary bankruptcy is often held up as a (last resort) solution to personal financial ills, but surely it is better than lying in the gutter with the rats feeding on your still warm corpse?

They have to pull the plug. They have to wipe the slate clean, they have to re-introduce their own currency, a currency which will make Greece so much more attractive to tourists and importers of produce, they simply cannot survive in this millpond with the grinding stone hanging around their neck, they will drown.

Look, I want the Euro to collapse, I want the hateful, horrible and corrupt EU to disappear, but bloody hell, no-one deserves this. Unfortunately I fear it will be an oft-repeated sight as the lights in the Eurozone wink out one by one, and a whole continent of people will be reduced to penury. It will stand as a monument to the vanity and arrogance of the EUrocrat class that have the gall to demand still more of our produce is poured down their throats.

The Greeks, already poor, will be impoverished, whilst their 'betters' vote themselves bigger expense payments, higher wages and ever more extravagant largesse. For shame.

Can we leave yet?

For shame.    

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Power and brilliance.

The internet, only good for bomb making and porn.

Or not.

This is bravery.

Alice is 15 and has terminal cancer, she has a 'bucket list' of things she'd like to do before the end. Pretty reasonable desires they are too.

Looks like she'll get them, a hundred times over.

She's only made two posts and has attracted in excess of 1300 comments. I haven't seen any trolls, and the offers are pouring in.

It is trending on Twitter at an unbelievable rate.

I lost a friend to cancer when I was about her age it had a profound effect upon me, as a 16 year old you don't expect to be reminded of your mortality. And if the last 20 years have taught me anything, it is that life is for living, needs to be taken by the scruff of the neck and have every last drop squeezed from it.

To those who think the internet can't be a power for good - one question.

How d'you like them apples?

No, no, you don't understand, it's there to serve me, not you.

The problem with things being sacred is that they can never be attacked, and will always be used to suit those who have the sacred thing under their control. So, when we see. . .

The Patients Association is calling for an end to the "geographical strait jacket" of having to register with a GP near to where you live. 

My response is to say, 'well, yes. The tax taken from an individual funds the service across the nation, not just the service within 3 miles of the taxpayer's house, so that seems fair enough.'

However, whilst. . .

An official consultation has found 77% of those who replied back change. . .

and let's face facts, 77% is a margin that most market researchers would kill for, it makes their job very easy.

. . . 70% of health-care staff were against.

I couldn't give a tupenny fig if you're against it. You see, I'm funding this bloody thing whether I want it or not. Having handed over my cash, I don't think it is an unreasonable expectation that the service I get is the service I want, rather than the service the provider can actually be arsed to give, if they're not too busy and we ask very nicely.

Whatever next? Bus drivers taking the bus wherever they feel like? So you buy a single from Elephant & Castle to Charing Cross but end up in Newlyn because the driver fancied a day by the sea and a pasty?

Look, chum, you're paid to do a job, why not try getting on with it rather than whinging about the nasty people you're paid to treat having ideas you don't agree with?

While we're on the subject of bloody things I'm funding whether I want to or not. . .

The European Parliament has clashed with the UK government over the EU's budget, with one leading Euro MP scorning a UK "provocation to Europe".

Oh, you think that's provocative, do you?

Guy Verhofstadt, head of the liberal group (ALDE), accused the UK of "continuing the policies of the past".

Liberal? Liberal? You don't know the meaning of the word. Liberal does not mean peope doing what you say or else.

Anyhow, if you want provocative, try this on for size:

Go fuck yourself, you corrupt, greedy, corrupt, specky, corrupt, authoritarian, corrput, anti-democratic, corrupt fuckwit, go roll that blue and yellow rag you call a flag up, put it in the freezer and when it's frozen solid, take it out and ram it straight up your Chatham pocket.

Provocative enough for you?

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Extremism to be hit by spending cuts.

Or something.

The government is to publish an updated strategy for tackling extremism and terrorism, on Tuesday afternoon.

Good-oh, does it involve us keep our noses out of other people's business? I'm guessing not because God knows their nose spends enough time in my business.

So how do we tackle extremism?

recommendations expected include monitoring people convicted of terrorism offences on their release

Oh, do you think? We've got all this wonderful legislation to stop all of us in the streets and spy on us, just in case we wake up one morning and discover we've developed an interest in peroxide, rusty nails and trains, and yet, you haven't even had the nouse to keep an eye on the people who demonstrably do have such an interest? Isn't this all a bit arse about face? Is it not common sense to keep tabs on those who are active rather than wasting time suspecting all of us?

a renewed focus on the use of the internet, as the government considers a "national blocking list" of violent and unlawful websites.

Hmmm, that rings a warning bell, there's huge scope for mission drift there, it all sounds so reasonable, doesn't it? I'm betting all the sites declared unlawful will be nodded through with the minimum of oversight. EDF? BNP? Any others?

A final draft of the new document, to be published in Parliament on Tuesday, was reportedly seen by the Times.

It says it was "possible" Prevent funding had gone to extremist groups promoting hardline beliefs.

Hang on a moment, you mean to say that some of the money earmarked to combat extremism has been handed to the extremists? Oh, oh, that's brilliant. I look forward to submitting that as evidence the next time some grey little drone solemnly informs me that only the State can do X, Y or Z.

On Monday, Mrs May accused universities of complacency in tackling Islamist extremism - a charge denied by the vice chancellors' body, Universities UK.

She told the Daily Telegraph: "I don't think they have been sufficiently willing to recognise what can be happening on their campuses and the radicalisation that can take place. I think there is more that universities can do."

Absolutely the universities should be held to account, it is all their fault. Do you remember when the paramilitary arm of the University of Central Lancashire went into Algeria, blowing things up left, right and centre?

I'm not one to bang the anti-cuts drum, but you scale back university funding and make the students pay thousands of pounds to attend. Fair enough, but that changes the landscape, that puts the universities into direct market place competition. Are you going to spend the better part of £10k to a university only for the university to start monitoring who you are talking to, where and what about? That's business suicide.

But the new document is expected to say the government will ensure that no more cash will be given "to organisations that hold extremist views or support terrorist-related activity of any kind".

But this is revolutionary! One of the best ways to hamstring extremist groups is to starve them of funds, I'm so glad that it is as easy as stopping giving them the money from my taxes.

Previously, Mrs May has said that, as a result of the strategy's review of government support, about 20 of the organisations that received funding over the past three years would have their cash withdrawn.

According to the Times, one reason for the failings of the current policy was a lack of scrutiny of the programme to test whether money was going to legitimate groups and bringing benefits.

Because this is what happens when you hand out cash to ridiculous special interest groups, be they the Muslim Council of Britain (I've never seen an election for them, they're not self appointed, by any chance, are they?), the NSPCC or the Dunfermline Dramatic Society for Amputee Transgender Somalis. Realistically, the benefits for society are far outweighed by the cold, hard cash poured into them, and the voice of the rest of society is drowned out by the high pitched whine given by the addicts when the flow of the fiscal narcotic is stemmed.

Speaking of special interest groups:

But Azad Ali, chairman of the Muslim Safety Forum. . .

Who? The Muslim Safety Forum? What? Is this to do with making sure that hard hats are halal?

. . . and an advisor to the previous government on extremism, said the government should not attack ideologies.

You're kidding yourself mate, that's all governments do. Attacking ideologies is what governments do best, and I'm wondering how long it is until anyone who holds an opinion on any subject that is contrary to that of government is labelled as an extremist.

You've been used, buddy. Stings, doesn't it?

You can spend as much money as you like combating terrorism and extremists, but until such time as we really want to tackle the cause nothing will change. The cause is not swivel eyed preachers and websites with shouty music and footage of half arsed training camps. The cause is what makes these people susceptible to the rantings of these nutters in the first place, I'm afraid we have to look at our actions abroad, both militarily - did we really need to go into Iraq? Was there no history before 9/11? Who funded the nutters that took over Afghanistan? We did, because of our fears over the USSR. Who occupied Iran and propped up the hated and authoritarian Mohammad Reza Pahlavi? - and diplomatically - look at our support or silence over a number of regimes across the world, keeping people under the thumb, voiceless and destitute.

Is it any wonder there's a parade of angry, desperate and hopeless people? You'll always get religious nutters, the West has their fair share, but it might be an idea to stop pushing people towards them. 

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Hitting them where it hurts.

Right, that's it.

I love the game of football, and this whole FIFA thing is getting out of hand now. The procession (and what a slow one it is) of an 'election' at FIFA House in Zurich which is currently ongoing is a farce, with a sitting President being elected unopposed because he appears to be less corrupt than the other would be candidate and sidekicks.

Blatter and his ilk stick the knife into each other whilst professing to the public that nothing is amiss, Anna Raccoon has commented on this over at her place.

But how to hit them? We have no voice, no representation. We may own the game, but we do not have possession of the ball, as it were.

The only way to hit the FIFA nobility is to hit them in the pocket, the only way to hit them in the pocket is to starve their sponsors of money.

Acting alone I will have no impact. I don't care. Have a go yourself, or not, it is your decision. However this afternoon I have sent the following message to the customer relations departments of all the multi-national companies who are the FIFA partners and the World Cup sponsors:

Dear Sir or Madam,

As an avid fan of football, I am greatly disturbed at the apparent corruption in FIFA, the seeming lack of desire to tackle the problem effectively. I am deeply concerned that those in power at FIFA House have appropriated the sport for their own ends, and left to their own devices will only stop once the game has suffered irreperable harm.

I have no voice at FIFA, no representation. I have no say in who holds the position of President, General Secretary or any of the Vice-President posts, yet I, along with millions of others, own this sport, not FIFA.

I have no route to influence proceedings directly, I am left with no alternative but to take an indirect route. FIFA must be killed and reformed, and the only way to kill the diseased beast is to starve it of funds.

As a result, and with regret, I have no option but to boycott your products and services all the time you continue to be associated with FIFA.

I may be one person, but I know many other people are of the same opinion as me, and will fall upon the same conclusion. I will be publicising my boycott regularly on Facebook and Twitter. I will tell people in person. I will dissuade others from using your services or purchasing your products. I will do it with no joy at all. Whilst I do not hold your organisation responsible for what is happening at FIFA, your continued financial support for FIFA is enabling the behaviour. And as one who cares for the game, it is behaviour which cannot continue.



I doub't I'll get a response, but we'll see. I've also sent similar to the BBC, Sky and ITV, to the Beeb complaining that licence-payer's money is fed to the organisation and to Sky and ITV explaining that I'll be sending the same to any sponsors who buy advertising time during their coverage of the qualifiers and (in ITV's case) the finals tournament.

Let's see how many companies will respond are care about the damage that could be done to their reputations and takings. If you're interested, here's the contact details:

Sony. (They only want journalists, there doesn't seem to be a general customer support address, bollocks to them.)