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Category Archives: Political

Don’t underestimate Katie Hopkins

Don’t underestimate Katie Hopkins

What wins elections? An educated electorate that meticulously seek out every mainstream party’s policies and promises and cast a well informed vote on that basis? No, I’m afraid not. That’s a dream for another day. No, you see, people who aren’t me or someone so into Politics they’re reading this obscure blog, don’t actually care about politics that much and get there summary of events through word of mouth and the media, as well as the opinions of pundits and powerful people like Katie Hopkins.

When Katie Hopkins say she’ll leave the country if Ed Miliband wins the election, that legitimately wins and loses votes. I’ve known people to cast a vote based on the candidate in a political debate the smiled the most. Another votes Conservative because “David Cameron had the hottest wife”. A polarising and interesting character like Katie Hopkins will lift the ears of all sorts and influence more people than you might think. And in an election as close as this, that might win a seat or two and that’s a big deal. But then again, this election is set to be the most unpredictable one in living memory, and a lot could happen. People might actually give a fuck. That’d be cool.

But let’s be fair, if the Sun print the day before the election “Miliband eats baby kittens”, the impact that will have on the election would be bigger than any threat Katie Hopkins could ever make and this is Hopkins thing could be reasonably small. Let us never forget the day after Tony Blair’s 1997 landslide victory the Sun reported “IT’S THE SUN WOT WON IT”. Whether or not the Sun reflected increasingly public support for Tony Blair’s campaign or actually precipitated it is a matter for another day. But let’s none of us forget, there’s still time for several debates and time for slip ups in the “She’s a bigoted woman” department. Either way, fun times in Politics, am I right?

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Posted by on March 30, 2015 in Political

 

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The Battle for Number 10 is just getting started

The Battle for Number 10 is just getting started

So the first of a series of televised events in the lead up to the election took place last night. Cameron was suave and predictable, coasting along on the dignity of office and his natural charisma. Miliband had a much more up and down performance, going through bouts of word vomit but coming across as more human and having a sense of humour even when being jabbed with frankly personal questions that were irrelevant to a political interview. Though the winner here was definitely Paxman.

Let me just clear up now, I’m going to be biased here as I’m a Labour Party member and volunteer, as much as I try to avoid it.

Let me be clear, I have a great deal of respect for the man, I’ve even read one of his books. He’s the king of nailing down evasive politicians and has done some great interviews in the past. He brought to light a few promises Cameron had not kept that even I didn’t know about as well as actually got an answer out of him on the matter of the mystery welfare cuts. However his attacks on Ed’s character reflect the behaviour of 5 years of tabloid childishness, something I had until now felt was beneath him. Of course, this is coming from a guy who has a real distaste for personality politics and worries these upcoming debates will just be a battle of memorised sound bites from party leaders on each issue.

My worry, at least in part was this was not totally impartial. Both presenters and the station involved being right leaning and the conduct towards Ed would seem to indicate that may be at play. But again, as I said, I’m hardly unbiased and this may be the rose tinted glasses talking. And of course, Paxman went out with the intent with hitting these leaders weak points, Cameron’s being broken promises and being that Ed wasn’t standing in 2010, the mistakes of New Labour and his personality gave Paxman his angle of attack.

My point is, this set the tone for the rest of the election and it certainly seems that it won’t be anything special in terms of being free from petty squabbling and mudslinging. Though in fairness, these people work in Parliament, a place with less decorum than my very own politics classroom.

But to be clear, ICM’s instant poll called it for Cameron which was expected but it was closer than predicted which is apparently a victory in itself for the Labour Party. I personally am happy the public got to see a less airbrushed Ed Miliband and the Conservatives so far proudly touted sublime record as been professionally besmirched for all to see. Hopefully this election was play host to an approach to substance over style for once and we’ll have real debate or real and serious issues … but I’m not holding my breath.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2015 in Political

 

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Two problems with British Democracy

Two problems with British Democracy

As of writing this, the UK General Election is in 49 days, 23 hours, 7 minutes and 22 seconds. What better time than to celebrate the numerous flaws with our humble system, a cheeky dose of good ol’ British critical thinking to get you feeling patriotic and hyped for the potential futility of the vote you may or may not cast on May 7th?

First Past the Post. Plain and simple, it’s broken. Briefly for the unaware, the vote you may or may not cast in will go towards the constituency you live in to elect an MP (Member of Parliament). There are 650 seats for MPs to hold altogether and the party that holds the majority of these seats is invited by the monarch to form a government. At the last election, there was no one party that held a majority and so the options were a hung parliament (weak government) or coalition. The problem here is smaller parties and smaller voices often have little to no representation in parliament.

Theoretically, if one party had 49% of the vote in every constituency but in every case another one of two took 51% of the vote, even though the popular vote across the country reflected that this 49% party was the most voted for party in Britain, it wouldn’t win a single seat in government and those voices would go unheard. In the 2010 election, UKIP gained 919,471 votes and no seats because their vote was spread out all across the country, not significant enough in one particular place to get a single MP, whereas that amount of votes in a proportional election would have won around 60 seats. That’s massive. Now I don’t support UKIP, but I do support those people’s right to be represented. First Past the Post actually supports a two party system, thus helping The Conservatives and Labour. Now I actually volunteer for Labour and support Labour, but I do that because I support Democracy more. Which we currently don’t have. At least not fair Democracy.

Now this is less of an issue to the one I just confronted, but still an issue. Personality Politics. In a country where every person is educated to the fullest extent about every issue, a government would be formed that would reflect the all round knowledge of the electorate and we’d most likely have a direct democracy, voting issue by issue with referendums every Friday. That’s the dream. But as it currently stands, people are busy and have a lot on their plate and need the issues summarised for them by a trusted person, party or media outlet so they know how to vote. That’s how political parties, politicians and the media are even a thing.

However many, many people are too busy even for this brief summary, but still want to vote. This, tragically more often than not comes to personality politics. Though the personality of a leader and not their actual policies inform many on some level all the time. Ed Miliband is hardly famed for his charisma and I’ve known people who took my Government and Politics A-Level with me for two years to comment that even if they liked his policies, they’d never vote for him because he’s not charismatic. People, this is the death of democracy. I’m not saying VOTE LABOUR. As long as you cast an informed vote, this issue is beaten and I love you.

Chances are however, at least for now, these issues will not be fixed any time soon and ironically any major party pledging to do so would be unelectable as proved in 2011 when the Alternative Vote system was shunned by the British public in the referendum for breaking this whole “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” vibe this country has going for it. Okay, rant over.

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2015 in Political

 

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Agnostics/bisexuals are not just fence sitters

Agnostics/bisexuals are not just fence sitters

Wow, I never thought I’d be writing about religion on here. Mad times. But yes, this is in response to the popular sentiment I have heard aimed at agnostics and similarly bisexual people in parts of the homosexual community. Many accuse such people as being fence sitters. I’ve known people to share this sentiment close to me but this is not aimed at you, this is aimed at the people who have a legitimate problem with it.

Now let me clarify, I appreciate by the definition of the term ‘fence sitter’ you are someone who is between both sides. However the phrase comes with a negative connotation. An implied hostility. The idea that you sit precariously on the fence waiting to fall either side onto one of the the ‘real’ choices. The idea that you are apathetic, or lazy or lack the conviction to ‘pick a side’. This is an assertion I whole heartedly disagree with and challenge as it implies that being agnostic or bisexual is not a real choice and that people are inevitably due to fall on one side or the other.

Let’s start with the agnostic one. If religion were a court case, it’d be thrown out for being entirely based on eyewitness testimony and books written by people that may not have even existed at all. However you cannot possibly disprove the many many people who believe that they have had an encounter with the divine in some way shape or form. There is no comprehensive proof either way. Faith in a higher power, something held closely in the hearts of billions of people across the globe, how can I possibly prove that all of those people are holding onto some fairy tale? I can’t.

Being an agnostic to some would seem like a lazy illegitimate choice, but I assure you it isn’t, at least in my case. And I believe in a fair few cases on top of mine. You see I know for a fact that there are people who will grow up religious and spend their whole lives never questioning their beliefs or the legitimacy of a such a pivotal part of their mind that will play an important role in many of their decisions and opinions. Equally are brought up in an atheistic home and brought up to denounce religion and look no further than “I can’t see a God, so he’s definitely not real”. This is not an attack on those who are theists or atheists. This is an attack on ignorance and never scrutinising and analysing your own belief system or lack there of. Other people are on the other side of debate. Why not be open minded and see why that is? If you’re confident in your beliefs or lack there of, you should have no issue at looking at the other side.

Being open minded means you always acknowledge that you may be wrong. And so you seek out both sides of the argument to such an extent you feel you can make an informed decision that feels right to you.

Now for the bisexual one. This first came to my attention when my bisexual brother had gone to a gay bar of some description and told me about a minority of people there who were dismissive of the idea of bisexuality because they’re ‘just being greedy’ or ‘still in a phase’. There is also a misconception that someone who is bisexual is very promiscuous, which isn’t necessarily true, it depends on that individual person. Promiscuity is not a trait exclusive to one sexual orientation and you’re an idiot if you think there are no straight people who have lots of sex with lots of partners (not that I even think that’s a bad thing). My curiosity was piqued and I found that this is something that legitimately exists, at least from a loud minority.

Drawn from a point of sense of pomposity, many of these people believe that this is merely a transitional that happens to many ‘confused’ members of the gay community who later find themselves to be only interested in their own gender. This leads to an outright deprivation of recognition of the sexual orientation of bisexual from some and is a straight up shitty thing to do. Being members of the gay community, surely you would know better than most how it feels for people to tell you that you do not truly think what you think and that these other people purport to have a stronger jurisdiction over your mind than you do? Again, a bit of a harsh thing to do. And again, it’s drawn from a level of ignorance to someone else’s perspective.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2015 in Political, Religion

 

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Trident Defiant!

Trident Defiant!

Surprise surprise, it’s a thing I have an opinion on. Great Britain’s Nuclear deterrent programme Trident.

So over the next 30 years, the government is set to spend a staggering £100 billion on renewing our Trident nuclear defence system. Usually I try to paint the arguments of both sides in a fairly equal light but this time I’m set to fail horribly as I’m so strongly set on being anti Trident, but here we go anyway.

Supporters of Trident (including the mainstream political parties of this country) believe that a nuclear deterrent is still an important thing to have to contribute to the security of this country through the Cold War policy of MAD or Mutually Assured Destruction. Essentially, as long as both sides have nuclear arms, neither side will fire upon each other because nobody can possibly win. Thus, as long as we have our nuclear missiles, we are theoretically safe from nuclear war with another nuclear state. There are also around 7000 jobs supported by the ongoing usage of Trident.

Criticisms of Trident include pointing out that renewing it will cost us that crazy £100 billion. All the cuts since the crash in 2008 total approximately £80 billion if you wanted a bit of clarification of what a dent that is on our expenditure as a country. With that money, we could build state of the art medical centres in every city in Britain. We could support 2 million jobs. We could revolutionise our energy collection technology and massively fund renewable energy and the studies into and become independent of foreign oil. a We could go without cuts to any treasured public institution you can think of and make higher education free to whoever wanted it. We could also use the money to take steps to heighten our national security against far more prevalent threats like terrorism, which nuclear arms cannot possibly counter.

There is also the issues with the weapons themselves. They’re illegal for us to actually use, being that the missiles are actually American missiles and we need permission from the United Nations to fire them. And of course firing them is a totally abhorrent act where you are guaranteed to have a ludicrous amount of civilian casualties. 1 innocent civilian is too many. The only country on this Earth that would ever be insane enough to actually use nuclear arms would be North Korea, a country that doesn’t even come to close to having the capability to hitting us and would be wiped off the map by the United States who have a nuclear arsenal at least 10 times our own size. Which brings me to our next point, even those who believe whole heartedly in MAD which is the equivalent of the NRA policy to counter gun crime being to give everyone a gun so everybody is too afraid to shoot each other, our allies also have Nuclear Arms and if they want to spend all their money on war, not their people, that’s their choice.

Just look at countries like Sweden and Denmark. Neither have or want nuclear weapons to protect themselves, they spend their money on their people and thus have some of the best educated citizens, best medical systems and prosperous peoples on this Earth. Seriously, the Nordic countries have got it right.

But I digress, I am seriously opposed to Trident and appear to be in the minority camp here which I feel is a shame. Perhaps one person will read this and agree and that’ll make a difference. I believe the government that shall take power in 2015 will make the decision of whether or not to pursue funding Trident in 2016. Opposition comes from parties like the SNP, Greens, Plaid Cymru, Respect and a handful of Labour MPs if that helps inform your vote this year. As always, feel free to debate me in the comments. Or just talk to me about this, I’d seriously love a little chat if you fancy it. Or not, that’s cool too.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2015 in Political

 

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Page 3 Plea

Page 3 Plea

For the uninitiated, The Sun newspaper is the most circulated newspaper in Britain and is part of the second largest media conglomerate on the planet with the household name Rupert Murdoch as the owner. This is also the same guy who owns Fox News in America, so you can probably guess the political leanings of this paper from that alone, though this is not the arena for this debate, I was just clearing it all up for you dear reader. The Sun has a regular section on the third page of the paper that features an attractive lady with her tits out. The Sun recently announced the end of Page 3 (with the provision that it may come back) as most likely a media stunt as they brought the feature back less than a week later. As you can imagine, this is where the debate lies. Now I can see three options that can be taken here:

1: Stay as it is. This is a company that enjoys a certain degree of autonomy and as long as it is within the confines of the law, it is allowed to do this kind of thing and government intervention here would be censorship (though that didn’t stop this government with the ludicrous porn laws recently put into place). There is also the issue that this is regularly a spring board for the modelling careers of these women and a source of employment for many and the elimination of Page 3 would kill jobs. If The Sun keeps Page 3, it’s likely part of the reason they are the most circulated paper in Britain and removing it would hurt their profits which is an understandable concern.

2: Remove Page 3. Feminists fall into one of two camps here, with one of them viewing Page 3 as exploitative of women and that it encourages the view that women are available sex objects and this kind of thing encourages sex crimes. There is also a swathe of society which is not entirely built up of women which have an issue with this kind of nudity as in some scenarios people have no choice but to see this on packed tube trains and buses and the effect some believe this can also have on children which are also understandable concerns. It is also worth noting that the Irish Sun has long since stopped their Page 3 and many countries have no equivalent in their mainstream newspapers, with this case in parts of the UK being somewhat of an oddity.

3: Put a bunch of guys on Page 4. One of the larger concerns being that women are sexually objectified by this paper, the logical conclusion to some may be to do the same thing with guys on the next page. Hypothetically this would double the amount of models employed by the paper. This would reduce the perceived inequality as men are in the exact same position as women in this paper. Also many feminists believe part of feminism is that women can achieve equality by doing whatever they want with their bodies and many models point out that they feel liberated by their choice to become models.  This also has a possibility of increasing female readership in the same way it increases male readership (I’m not forgetting that some men like men and some women like women). However this has the downsides that it does nothing to reduce the nudity in the paper which some take issue with and also has the possibility that having naked guys in the paper may simply alienate the men that already purchase the paper to see women.

Personally, I would fall under category 3 as you can probably tell from my involuntary bias that led to that being a much larger paragraph. To me as someone who doesn’t care much for censorship and actually saw many sexually provocative scenes in films as a child (I watched lots of James Bond among other things) and this didn’t make me into a rapist or guilty of any relationship abuse, I feel that the effect of nudity on children is probably minimal though I would be interested to see scientific data to back up or disprove this statement as my opinion here is entirely based on anecdotal evidence. But as this option is unlikely to ever be pursued, I’ll defer to category 2 reluctantly. Feel free to disagree with me and school me in the comments if you’re reading this and have an opinion on it.

P.S: The image features Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, who falls firmly under category 2

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2015 in Political

 

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The ‘Gay One’

The ‘Gay One’

Spoons are just little bowls on sticks. Good. Now that I have your attention, homosexuality’s portrayal in the media! Hooray! That sounds fun doesn’t it kids?

A little while ago a friend of mine told me about a debate he had had with a close friend about having openly gay characters in films, games, tv etc. She felt that characters who were not openly gay were having their sexuality suppressed and marginalised while he felt that having characters who were gay but not defined by it was a sign of progress and that the medium had come to accept homosexuality as a norm in society.

Here are three such methods of portrayal gay characters have had in the media (Refer to the featured image for a visual aid if you so wish):

Larry Grayson (Bottom Left in image) was a bit of a big deal. In Britain in the 1970s homosexuality had just been made legal, however there was still a homophobic undercurrent in the popular culture. Enter Larry Grayson, an openly gay man who centred is performing personality around being a now stereotypically effeminate gay man. A mixed blessing, the man brought homosexuality into the mainstream and developed a large viewer-ship at his time but he did reinforce this persona as the norm for homosexual males which led to much of the popular culture labelling homosexual males as colourful, flamboyant, effeminate and people entirely defined by the sexuality.

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore (yes I did have to do the whole name) on the other hand is the complete opposite of Larry Grayson. He’s gay, but it’s never really alluded to apart from in the expanded universe. Some would view this as suppressing his homosexuality and openly opposing it as heterosexual relationships take the spotlight in this universe. Some of you may point out this is a strange example to pick out as he is very very old and unlikely to be still sexually active anyway, but whatever, he was the only character that came to mind.

Arcade Gannon and Veronica Santangelo (both featured in Fallout New Vegas, one of my favourite video games of all time) are gay characters that don’t let it define their personality but they also don’t really hide it. Arcade is defined by his intelligence, shyness and compassion while Veronica is defined by her rebellious nature, love of dresses and love of punching things. If you talk to either of them for an extended period of time, you’ll find they are interested in members of their own sex. That’s it. They’re normal people who are also gay.

In my experience, this is likely true of the majority of homosexual community and also I ask is that the media tries to be representative. I don’t have a problem with gay men or women who find themselves more comfortable being effeminate or masculine respectively. In fact as long as you’re not hurting anyone, you can do whatever you like as far as I’m concerned. I simply see something worrying when people demand more openly gay characters in the media because I feel it is far more harmful to the homosexual community to have ‘token’ gay people in every show who occasionally say how much they like shopping or building a shelf or whatever. This reminds me of the debate about the inclusion of that elf woman into the Hobbit film trilogy. Ah well, Save that for another day. Or possibly never.

In summary. I think Fallout mostly did it right, but there’s nothing wrong with what the other two did. Everyone who falls somewhere on this debate is right to some extent because these are all well meaning arguments that my bias may have not led me to do them justice. I’m trying to work on that. Feel free to debate me in the comments if you have a different opinion, if I manage to negotiate myself around this site that’s fairly new to me, I’ll respond. Patrolling the Mojave makes me wish for a nuclear winter.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2015 in Political

 

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