Posts Tagged ‘ government ’

Unemployed people working to ensure the money keeps coming in? Preposterous!


image courtesy of freefoto.com

An interesting turn up for the books: making the unemployed work. Crazy. Is this Britain? Have I been transported without my knowledge to a country other than my own [wel]fair state? The government next week will be unveiling plans to put the unemployed masses to work for four week ‘full-time’ (30 hours is not full time in my book, but c’est la vie) or lose their dole money for three months.

People who legitimately can’t work for health reasons is one thing, but I’ve lived with, known and am in some cases related to enough people just taking the state for a ride to think this is a good idea for a few reasons:

1 – working ‘full time’ for the dole money amount of ‘£50.95 a week for those under 25 and £64.30 for those over 25’ will probably seem crap to the ‘demonized’ unemployed. After all, they could be doing the same graft for the full wage, no? Maybe they would go out and get jobs and help the tax payers contribute to supporting the people who really need it as opposed to those who just can’t be bothered

2 – as described in the government’s proposal, the ‘habit of worklessness’ can only be broken by working; this will break that habit.

3 – some people on the dole actually do want to work and may actually enjoy it

4 – coercing people to do work they would not ordinarily even consider may even open some eyes to the palatability of certain roles.

There are jobs out there; I’ve never been into the job shop and found their databases blank and devoid of work. People are too fussy with what they want as jobs in a climate where we shouldn’t be fussy at all. Others just can’t be bothered, to quote Craig Spence “To quote problem with people today is they never want to make the effort, they expect everything to be handed to them and seem to think they are too “good” for menial labour, the work is there if your willing to do it. People who look down their nose at fast-food staff and cleaners should just crawl up and die.”

The main reason we have so many unemployed people in this country?  is that we let them sap the state. If this new government plan can curtail that, I’m all for it.

Or to put it another way:

Video: ‘The art of corporate mind control’… Paranoid?


Some of you may have seen this video before. It presents what could easily be described as a paranoid* view of the world we live in today. Let me know what you think. Is this how it is? Partly? Or is this all preposterous nonsense?



* some might say, just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. Just a thought.

Power ≠ exemption: arrest the Pope (& the corrupt politicians)


Power should ≠ (not equal) exemption, but overall it appears it does. I read an interesting article on the Huffington Post yesterday which lead with this:

Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, two of the world’s most prominent atheist intellectuals, are seeking means to try the pope for crimes against humanity.

Sounds appealing and ‘just’, right? After all, the pontiff has been reported as heavily involved in the cover-up of sexual abuse within the Catholic church. In lay terms that would be aiding and abetting, a serious offence. The Pope, however, seems immune on the grounds that he is a head of state. Heads of state cannot be tried for crimes? Call me sceptical/uninformed, but that seems a bit bent.

Intellectuals Dawkins and Hitchens, both ardent atheists, evidently feel the same and are attempting to do something about it. Hitchens is quoted as saying:

“This man is not above or outside the law. The institutionalized concealment of child rape is a crime under any law and demands not private ceremonies of repentance or church-funded payoffs, but justice and punishment.”

But as a fellow student, Craig Spence, noted:

[It’s] never going to happen, can you imagine the uproar it would cause in mainland Europe? particularly Italy, not to mention all the so called “Irish Catholics” in the states. What the UK should do is ban him from entering the country, make it clear that we don’t agree with his conduct.

Now, I like that idea, but I am holding out hope that he gets arrested — it might give my faith in ‘justice’ a much needed pep. In truth, however, I seriously doubt either action will be taken. There’s too much pressure on the government as it is and in the run up to elections I very much doubt that the government is going to alienate all the Catholic voters. Convenient timing really.

The point is this: conduct such as his (and that of other priests) should not remain unpunished and he should not be exempt just because he’s the Pope, just as politicians should not be exempt from fraud charges over the expense scandal. In any other business, theft on such a scale would have had serious repercussions.

People in positions of power should be as culpable as anyone else.

“Homosexuality is wrong, kids, God says so.”


happy to hate

Rachel Williams reported in the Guardian about the so-called U-turn performed by the government regarding sex education in faith schools, i.e. allowing Catholic schools to teach that homosexuality is wrong and ‘discourage’ the use of contraception.

What I’d ike to know is, how has this been passed? Religious freedom notwithstanding, surely it’s better to teach kids all sides of something and let them make their own minds up. Teaching that homosexuality is wrong because ‘God said so’ (aside from the ambiguity of the actual ‘truth’ here) is just going to perpetuate and exacerbate hate [crimes], misunderstandings and inhibit diversity.

In the words of Stonewall:

Some people are gay, get over it.

In addition, does the country need any more breeding teenagers, really? With very few exceptions, having a baby young is a waste of the lives of all concerned – the teenagers who don’t get to have a life until they’re in their 30s, the kids raised by kids who haven’t probably learnt some of the most valuable lessons to pass down.

A spokesman for the Dept for Children, Schools and Families, has said

“…schools will be required to teach full programmes of study in line with the principles outlined in the bill, including promoting equality and encouraging acceptance of diversity. Schools with a religious character will be free to express their faith and reflect the ethos of their school, but what they cannot do is suggest that their views are the only ones.”

However, this translates to ‘a Catholic school will be required to teach the factsabout contraceptives and contraception, but would be free to contradict it all by foregrounding and reinforcing their views on the subject.

The question remains: who ensures that a balanced message of tolerance, objectivity and free will is  getting across?

ID cards, privacy & hope for a UK Bill of Rights


The increase in surveillance of the British public has long been on the up, but a new state of the nation poll (reported in the Guardian) shows that the country has hit its tipping point.

One such aspect that has come under public scrutiny is the ID card. In July 2009, the home secretary, Alan Johnson, said the card were a ‘no brainer. They would allow easy travel between EU countries— passport free, only terrorists wouldn’t have them, and so on.

“The identity card is a safe, secure and simple way for people to protect and prove their identity and to travel around Europe but leave their passport at home,” he said. “Given the growing problem of ID fraud and the inconvenience of having to carry passports coupled with gas bills or six months worth of bank statements to prove identity, I believe the ID card will be welcomed as an important addition to the many plastic cards that most people already carry.”

And then a UK newspaper hired a hacker to test the ‘unhackable’ cards out. With a phone and a laptop, the card was hacked in minutes and cloned, with new information put on it. Not so fraud-resistant after all. Besides which, even if they were, it only takes one corrupt/breakable/bribable individual on the inside to screw the whole system. On the surface a good, all-inclusive, ‘no sensitive info‘, easy idea. On the inside, deeply flawed and unlikely to go down well in a country where trust in the government is at best tenuous.

The last state of the nation poll showed only 33% of people opposing ID cards. Now 53% perceive them to be a [very/]bad and 63% of people– up from 53% – worry about the government holding information on them.

The state of the nation poll shows the rights that the sample believed should be included in a Bill of Rights:

81% – the right to know what information government departments hold on you

79% – the right to privacy in your phone, mail and email communications

76% – the right to join a legal strike without losing your job

75% – the right to obtain information from government bodies about their activities

72% – and the right to free and peaceful assembly.

Which just goes to show that the UK still wants to be a free society.

This information was released by Power 2010, which asked the public to choose its top five priorities for political reform, the poll revealed that

80% agreed with the need for a bill of rights, 52% strongly.

The British public seems to be rejecting the idea of massive centralised power over which they have no control.

56% thought government power was too centralised, with

88% saying that local communities should have more say over decisions that affect them.

And that’s what democracy is all about… Right?

UK full-body scanners set for take down


The use of full-body scanners in airports may be illegal on basis of discrimination and privacy, according to an equality watchdog.

The scanners have been hastily introduced to certain major airports in the UK in an attempt to catch potential terror attacks (like the recent Christmas Day incident) before they happen and stop them, but have now run into a hitch:  the human right to live versus the human right to privacy, dignity and not to be discriminated against. Understandably, many Muslim people are concerned that they will be singled out for the ‘random’ selection process —and they probably would be. This would be wrong for all the obvious reasons, but in addition it is foolish to think that the only people with a beef that could get attention from aeroplane-related terror tactics are [the minority of] Islamic people [who might resort to such measures]. The answer here is simple.

As much as I don’t fancy having my whole body peered at through a scanner (even though almost as much effort has gone into ensuring genital imperceptibility as into the perceptibility of everything else), I would rather that than be blown up mid-air (or anywhere for that matter). With regard to the potential for discriminatory practice, I believe everyone should be scanned. How else is the process supposed to be thorough? Scanning everyone is the only way to ensure that everyone is checked and nobody is discriminated against.

Time consuming, but worth it I think…

UK whore tax could help plug a gap


Also known as:

The case to have brothels  legalised, standardised, pasteurised (well, not quite), regulated and taxed.

Why?

The short answer:

Firstly, because the workers could be medically screened and physically and legally protected.

Secondly, the tax the government could/would reap would be massive,  comparable even to that of smokers’ and drivers’ taxes.

Simples.

The longer answer?

It could be argued that ‘no one’ wants a brothel on their doorstep and this is fair enough. Put them in industrial parks. Not sexy enough? Neither’s an alley (although something resembling an alley could be constructed on premises with an outside area).

Is this heinously commodifying women? I never said brothels should only be worked in by women; men are fair game too. Don’t like the commodification of sex? Here’s some news: it’s the oldest trade in the world, it was commodified long before any of us were born and with a country strapped for cash (and the government dipping into the pension funds etc.) we might as well stop being prudish and wilfully ignorant. Legalising this area of the black market could generate masses of revenue, plugging a gap in the economy, at the same time as all-importantly looking after the health and safety of the workers – not to mention the peace of mind of the patrons.

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