Thursday, 19 December 2013

The Ranty Pantz Awards 2013

Everyone is doing them so why not me. before I break for Christmas I thought I would pay homage to the great and good of politics, twitter and whoever else I feel like. So lets find out who wins a Pantzy.

Troll of the year

To clarify to all you idiots out there a troll isn't someone who sends abuse. A proper troll makes people look stupid without using any abuse at all. Honourable mentions to Old Holborn, who the Daily Mail called "one of Britain's vilest internet trolls" and the Iain Duncan Smith MP parody twitter account who hooks more morons per tweet than anyone else I know.
Heeeeeey macarena!

But this years winner trolled one of the worlds most powerful men, a global icon (all be it deceased), a nation, a half full stadium and millions watching on television. Yes it's Thamsanqa Jantjie, he of the crazy hands sign language school. The excuses since are gold, we should all up our game to match his effort.

The Jack Dromey award for twitter proficiency

This award goes to the person most messing up their use of twitter and humiliating themselves. The @Number10gov was found to be following escorts, Jack Dromey himself appears to like big black male poultry. Even Sally Bercow misses out for her "oops" tweet because the winner displayed stupidity beyond all reasonable measure.  

Not by a long shot. Epicurious are a New York based food website and decided to use the Boston marathon bombing to sell some scones! If there was a "face-palm moment of the year" they would double up their total.

Scones mend broken bones
Ed Balls moment of the year

Good old Ed Balls, he keeps the good times coming for those who love to mock him. If spitting image were still around his puppet would probably just act the same. He is a man of many hand gestures and many many cock ups. However his best (for us anyway) moments came at the end of this year. Just this week in PMQ's David Cameron pulled off a funny, no really it was very good. Quipping at Ed Miliband after Ball revealed a new dance move he said.

‘Ah! We’ve got a new hand gesture from the Shadow Chancellor! I’d have thought after today’s briefing in the papers the hand gesture from the Shadow Chancellor would be ‘bye bye’! You don’t need it to be Christmas to know you’re sitting next to a turkey.’

But the winner came in the autumn statement when he got so flustered by the good economic news and heckling, that he likes to dish out so much, he lost the plot. A picture paints a thousand words.

The Penny Red award for most pathetic femenazi

Big call this one, big big call with so many candidates. I have judged it on use of rather sad hashtags, hypocrisy and victim mentality. An honorable mention to Stella Creasy who hits home on hashtags but fails to win thanks to her campaigning on FGM. FGM isn't a feminist issue, it's barbaric but not many seem interested. Like the winner for example.

Caroline Criado-Perez campaigned to have a woman on a banknote, forgetting that there is a woman on every banknote printed in the UK as it is. She received death threats (I condemn them, but really, men  on twitter get them every day, block and move on like they do) and because of this anyone, I mean anyone, who disagrees with her is labelled as some kind of woman hating scum. I would have more respect if she wanted to tackle serious issues like FGM.

Independent non commercial blog of the year

Just to clarify this rules out anyone with Google ads or such like running and is judged purely by how much I enjoy them. I saw a tweet once that said "When @Skip_Licker stops being a cunt he writes some beautiful stuff" (can't remember exactly but the gist is the same). His blog Words by me is often very moving and draws on his past as a soldier in the British forces. Another interesting one is by @rhmgroo who on Old School Bulgaria is documenting his journey to emigrate. Full of tips and troubles it is a must for anyone thinking of moving overseas to start a new life. He also has the finest beard on twitter.

But I am a huge fan of the winner and have been for a while, in fact it was his blog that inspired me to start my own. @Battsby is, quite simply, a legend. As at ease with delicate, poetic prose as he is at insightful analysis of social issues with just a hint of grumpy old bastard to be funny and not irritating. A well deserved Pantzy for When I'm King.
Putting the world to rights

Best tweeting MP of the year

Our last award goes to the MP making best use of twitter. William Hague is one of my favourites. It is of course a strictly business account with information about his role in the FCO and the usual "look at blah blah blah" tweets you see the inters send while the boss does something. However his Q & A sessions are fantastic, even being honest on overseas aid. Charlotte Leslie while not a prolific tweeter does so in a casual way, not overly preened by social media bandits. But there was a clear winner.

Michael Fabricant is by quite some margin my favourite tweeting MP. From his brilliant array of "fabatars" to making twanking cool he does what no other MP seems to be able to match, he makes us like him, even people who hate the Tory party have expressed fondness towards the man from Lich Vegas. I can't think of a better way to end the 2013 awards.
The latest Fabatar
Thank you for reading and congratulations to all the winners, you thoroughly deserve your Pantzy awards. I look forward to seeing you all again in the new year.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Abbas Khan was a fool

Abbas Khan illegally entered Syria to go to a war zone and ended up being captured. He died this week and the family aren't happy. His brother, Shahnawaz Khan, claiming he was treated differently because he was a Muslim and that the Foreign Office could have done more. Uh, how about no. I wasn't alone in thinking this.
Whatever his reasons to going to Syria he did so individually, not as part of any organised humanitarian mission. He was on one of course but then he took off on his own. The government can't be responsible for every individual that goes into a war zone. When George Galloway makes sense something is wrong.

"We know what the crime was: he was captured on the battle field in Aleppo. He had no right to be there."

Why anyone thinks we can ride to their rescue when they do something stupid overseas is beyond me. The real problem here isn't that he was arrested and detained but the conditions of the Syrian jail. He was picked up in a war zone, the Syrian government probably thought he was fighting with the rebels, wouldn't you be suspicious as well? And do you really think a regime as corrupt as the Syrian one would release anyone easily?
Something about this whole story seems off to me. Whatever people think of our government we still have decent diplomatic links and I am sure the Foreign Office were doing what they could, his release was imminent after all. I suspect someone, somewhere knows something they aren't saying.

But even if we take the story of Mr Khan at face value he is still a moron of epic proportions and for his family to play the race card (Muslim aren't a race I know, don't get me started) is simply pathetic. He went to a war zone, people die, deal with it.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

From out of the Ashes

Well it's been a miserable few weeks to be an England cricket fan. It's one thing to lose, it's quite another to be obliterated in this fashion. The home series against the Aussies this year was won on key moments, when it mattered most someone from the England team stood up and performed. This time it has been the old enemy that has won the crucial moments.

But all is not lost, these dire moments can be good for a team. When a storm devastates a forest the best form of management is to clear the debris and let nature take it's course. Remove dead wood and give time for new trees to establish themselves. So here are my reasons to be cheerful.

1) Ben Stokes

What a class act this young man is. At only 22 he has a long career ahead of him and although it would be wrong to put too much pressure on him now the signs are good. He isn't a Flintoff style of all rounder, he is a batsman first, bowler second. The most well know of that type would be Jacques Kallis. Not a strike bowler by any means but an effective one. With him in the side there should be 4 other bowlers to share the load anyway.

If Stokes carries on improving England have more attacking options, making it easier to play a second spinner and still have 3 seamers in the side. 
Stokes hit a superb ton down under to outline his credentials
2) Goodbye KP?

This may be unthinkable to some but if the broom is to sweep clean then he must be put out to pasture, at least in the longer form of the game. It is clear that KP isn't a team player anymore, if he ever was in the first place. I refuse to believe that some of the shots he has played in certain situations were stupidity because he isn't a stupid man. More to the point he has previously played the sort of long and viscid innings needed, he seems to choose not to. KP the entertainer needs his image, nothing else matters.

You might get away with it in 50 and 20 over cricket but in test matches you need a team spirit, a togetherness that gives you that little extra. I don't believe he has it, time to say goodbye.

3) Were not actually this bad

You don't become a bad team overnight and this England team most certainly aren't this bad. Form is temporary, class is permanent and in Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad they have two of the classiest bowlers in world cricket. Broad is probably the only senior player who can hold his head high, or at least not be hopelessly embarrassed.

Captain Cook will find form again, he is too good not to. Remember this man is England's leading century scorer and he is only 28 years old. It has amazed me that Ian Bell is getting stick, he has been undone by good bowling mostly and after his summer exploits to suggest dropping him is madness.

Of course there are challenges. Matt Prior's form is probably the most worrying, the batting was almost excused while his glove-work was faultless. Now that isn't the case he is in danger, but again, I am not worried. Bairstow and Buttler are both around the squad and are the likely long term options for the role.

Some short term pain may be needed to make some changes but it will be worth it in the end. And chin up, as someone who grew up during the 90's you have no idea what depressing is if you missed that era.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Give Jim Knight a job? You must be crazy!

Hospitality is a hard business to work in, I know first hand of the long and unsociable hours including weekends and holiday periods. Christmas day off should be considered a hard fought luxury that only happens very rarely and even if you have the most valid reason not something you should ever expect. One Christmas I was due to be off and it changed last minute, nature of the beast I am afraid. Can't stand the heat then get out of the kitchen.

May I introduce you to Jim Knight, a chef who has a massive sense of entitlement. He wanted a weekend off in December and Christmas day off with his 7 and a half month old daughter. Now, this may seem like no big deal but have you ever worked in a pub in December?  It is madness, a real "make hay" situation and the smaller the team the harder it is.

Well he got sacked and decided to use the company twitter account to have a sissy fit.

Pretty disgusting behavior, I most definitely would never give this man a job. The Daily Mail ran a story on it where the landlord, Steve Potts, was clear and concise about what happened. He Jim was only hired in October and told he would be needed every Sunday, he then added;

'When Jim, as head chef, informed me that he would not be working on Christmas Day, and other Sundays in the near future, I was left with little choice but to end our arrangement.
'I had been quite clear with him when he started here that Sundays are our busiest days of the week, and that all our chefs have to work that day.'

So it seems Jim decided to throw his weight around. Maybe when he was interviewed he could have asked for Christmas day off to be with his daughter and they could have sorted something but less than three months into a job to start acting all billy big bollocks is just daft. As for the accusation of buying produce from ASDA not only is that down to the head chef but Mr Potts had this to say;

'Our suppliers are transparent: our meat is fresh, never frozen, and comes from Booker’s in High Wycombe and from a local farmer called Peter Vogt,'
'Certain staples of fish come from our nearest supermarket, which is Asda, but the implied suggestion that we are buying cheap meat and passing it off at a premium is, frankly, outrageous and untrue.'

I know who I believe, lets face it Jim has acted like a petulant child and Mr Potts with dignity, even naming a food source, something you can go and check up on. Clearly Jim you are in the wrong line of work, if you want weekend and Christmas off change career, I did for that very reason.

Alas someone has been stupid enough to give him another job, although I suspect it was for PR reasons and they started a Twitter account to announce his hiring. 
Well I would avoid the food from here like the plague. With Jim in the kitchen who knows what will happen, in fact someone else summed it up perfectly so I will let him have the last word.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Cyclists aren't blameless and it's time they realised that

I used to have to cycle to work, 7 miles each way. I had my accident coming home from work one day when the road was being resurfaced. It was in that scratched up state with a few raised points along the road. I was almost home when I looked over my shoulder to see nothing, signaled anyway, looked left one last time as I went across and then WHAM! I got hit from the right on the side of the road the only danger should have been on the left. I picked myself up, they drove off. 

I share this to establish that I am not an anti cycling nut job, defusing part of the argument against me before someone even tries it. The number of deaths in London recently has made the news and cyclist safety is a key issue in the capital. But it feels like one suggestion  is off the table, telling cyclists to change their behavior.

Much like drivers, cyclists and their attitude vary, but as a percentage of cars and cyclists I see those on two wheels making risks much more often. I have myself been hit by a cyclist going through a red light, it hurt, but not as much as his face after I gently caressed it with my fist. Weaving through traffic, red light jumping, talking on the phone, no high vis when needed, poor lights and the biggest sin of all, stopping down the left hand side of a lorry (or other very large vehicle) at a junction.

You are asking for trouble in that situation, how often do you hear of this kind of accident? Every time you hear people ask what can be done to the lorry to stop it happening, padding, side bars, different mirrors. Here is a novel idea, try not being in a dangerous place to start with. Surely the easiest thing to stop this happening is for cyclists to realise that lorries have massive blind spots so not to go there in the first place. 
Why take the risk?
I'm not saying that the improvements to the lorries shouldn't happen but come on guys, look at the whole picture. Perhaps a cycling proficiency is needed for cycling in the capital, with practical and theory. A small charge to cover the cost and some profit to invest in cycling infrastructure. I'm not suggesting as intensive as the driving license, just a single day course and that is it. 

Removing the holier than thou attitude some cyclists have and changing their behavior is probably the easiest and quickest way to save lives. When a cyclist dies because a lorry was turning left at a junction my initial reaction is "why were they there". If someone jumped off a cliff into the sea for a buzz and died would you blame their stupidity or the cliff and sea?

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Muslim's rally against alcohol, what they aren't telling you

So Anjem Choudary and his Islamic rent a mob will be holding a demo against alcohol today. This is of course their right to protest but this isn't just a protest, this is the "Sharia Zone" of Tower Hamlets.

People can protest about what they like as far as I am concerned. If you want to rally that you should be allowed to marry your hermaphrodite half brother then be my guest. The key with protest though is observing the rule of law as you do so. The students that protested against police this week are a great example. They complain about the heavy handedness of the police when they protest but proceed to graffiti, smash through locked gates and set things on fire. Not what you should be doing to achieve your aims.

In advance of the anti alcohol rally the local traders have been handed out "Islamic legal notices". Give it a read but in short these nut jobs are telling business owners that there license to sell alcohol has been revoked and that they have no right to sell alcohol, no right to an appeal and can be punished in a Sharia court receiving 40 lashes as punishment.
I can't believe this is allowed to happen, surely the police know what is going on? While I will protect the right to protest even for the most stupid ideals the law of our country must be observed, but surely the police are going to protect small businesses whilst ensuring a peaceful protest. Are they fuck, they are actually going around the area telling people to shut up shop for the protest in case they are targeted. See these two videos below from a rather too pleased member of The Sharia Project.

So what exactly are the police on enabling this unlawful behavior. Instead of facilitating a protect where they are respecting the rights within law to protest and business owners to keep trading perfectly legally they are caving in. Tower Hamlets is no longer under the rule of British law.
Anjem wasn't always such a dick
This is worrying because like cancer it will spread and infect every part of the country. If they want Sharia law so much there are plenty of countries that offer it, feel free to go to one. However while you are in Britain you should have to obey our laws.

The police have time for jokes about Mandela on twitter but not to enforce the rule of law in Tower Hamlets. I weep for our once great country.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Would you hire a working mum?

My wife is very lucky where she works. Since having our boy they have been flexible with her working hours and never once complained at all the days off from child minding issues. Luckily My mother in law is supportive and comes to do his bedtime so she can do a couple of hours in the evening, better than nothing at all on any given day. But this week, with the child minder sick, I realised that I would be reluctant to hire a working mum. Or dad of course, if he had the role of main care giver to the kid/s. I am using a mum in a scenario because they are more often in this role than dads are.

Before you sharpen your swords hear me out please.

Imagine you run a small business, only 5 employees. When someone is off the impact on the business is felt in a big way. When you are that small, or smaller in some cases, everyone is a key member of staff. So imagine you have a working mum on your team, her job is the business admin. She has a toddler in childcare and does 9:30 to 3 every day. What scenarios could cause her to  be off?

In this scenario the child minder has a toddler as well and this leaves the following reasons they would be unable to take the child for the day.
  • The child minder is sick
  • The child minder's child is sick
  • The parents child is sick
Do you have kids? If not let me assure you the little blighters pick up all sorts of bugs and they seem to hit the adults more. When one of that group gets something everyone does. So add on all those days taken off because of the child minder when the parent is actually sick themselves and you can see the problem. The number of days taken off could disrupt the business severely.

Offering flexible hours is all well and good if they can fit in with the business and the role that person does. No point offering someone in telemarketing work outside of normal business hours, who would they phone?Mid size and larger companies are in the best position to help but even then the teams that have the working parents in may have trouble covering for regular absence.
It is a toughie this, my wife is so fortunate to have a job that can be flexible and an understanding boss. But when you think about it is it any surprise that some companies are reluctant to hire working mums? Say you have two CV's of equal quality and both aced the interview but one had a young child and the other didn't, who would you hire?

I know who I would, it doesn't make me feel good about it but from a cold and calculated business decision I would want the person least likely to need time off.

We should double MP's pay

MP's pay is in the news at the moment with members of the house due to get a tasty 11% pay increase (along with some expenses rule changes). This is a thorny issue, cuts and pay freezes are in force throughout the public sector and they would struggle to justify any pay increase.

Except they have no involvement at all in the process. Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) was created in 2009 in response to the expenses scandal. They regulate the expenses system and MP's pay, meaning our elected members wouldn't be voting on their own pay rises again. Of course this seems great when you assume they just want to line their pockets but not so much now they want to stop the pay increase but can't do anything about it.

Some have said they will refuse the increase but as this would technically be illegal they would have to change the law to make it happen. You might think this is a good idea but you would be wrong, that would set a precedent. Whenever a decision came out from the IPSA that parliament didn't like they could change the law to change the outcome. Any attempt to undermine the IPSA's decision would mean it's creation was pointless. But I have a radical solution.

I would double MP's salaries, I'll just let that sink in for a moment because I am serious, we double their salary. The reason being is that the best minds in the country don't go into politics because they can earn so much more elsewhere. It would explain the number of millionaires in parliament, they don't need to earn the big bucks and can do a job of their choosing. 

Alongside this mammoth pay increase I would halve the number of MP's. Whilst also doing the same with ministerial jobs, not the front bench roles obviously but there are now so many junior ministerial positions there must be some pruning that can be made. As with everything in life quality is better than quantity. The increased salary will attract more bright minds to parliament, improving the quality of work done and subsequently our quality of life.
Less is more
Lastly I would set up a block of managed apartments for the now far smaller group of MP's. I know this would be a terrorist target but with them all in one place security would be easier to arrange. Somewhere comfortable, good internet and close to the office, that's all they need.

This will obviously never happen. But whatever we think of our not so honourable members we can't put pressure on them to change this IPSA decision. If they had said no to a pay rise and MP's got involved you would be screaming about their involvement in an independent body.

UPDATE: As one reader pointed out second jobs should also be banned for sitting MP's under this arrangement. In all honesty I think that should be the case now. HT @pcaschere

Monday, 9 December 2013

In the 80's the Tories were right, the ANC were terrorists

Despite already apologising for the description of Mandela and the ANC as terrorists in 2006 Dan Hodges wants David Cameron to do it again. To do so would be wrong, firstly because it would seem like an attention seeking move and secondly, more importantly, they were terrorists in the 80's.

The rate at which history books are being revised is scary indeed. News outlets referring to Mandela as a "political prisoner" when Amnesty refused such a title because of the violence he helped organise and refused to denounce. Well during the 80's the military side of the ANC that he co-founded (the MK) were hard at work and here are just some of the highlights.

Church Street bombing, 20th of May 1983

A car bomb attack that killed 20 and wounded 217. This was one of their largest attacks in the ANC's campaign again's Apartheid. Was this terrorism? Well while the number of civilian vs military deaths & injuries was unclear the truth and reconciliation commission but the estimates at 7 dead and 84 injured for the military. Meaning you were far more likely to die if you were an innocent than a legitimate target.
Amanzimtoti Shopping complex, December 23rd 1985

During the peak of the Christmas shopping season, MK member Andrew Sibusiso Zondo detonated a bomb in a rubbish bin at the Sanlam shopping centre. Two women and three children were killed in the blast and more than forty were injured.

Roodepoort Standard Bank, June 3rd 1988

The target had not been civilians but a police station nearby but something went wrong, or so they say. The ANC gave no explanation for what happened. 4 people were killed with 18 injuries.

The debate continued on Twitter with Mr Hodges in debate with others on the subject of the ANC and terrorism. He believes that because there was no democracy then the ANC weren't terrorists. I disagree and while there is no international consensus on the definition this sums it up pretty well.

"The unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims"

So while you could argue that a group engage in terrorist acts for justifiable reasons you could still say that that terrorist acts are being committed. Further to that it is my personal opinion that any group targeting the public deliberately are terrorists. Sure if a political or military Apartheid base got bombed civilians would be killed as well but the intent is to attack the enemy. Instead, in one example, they kill three innocent children out Christmas shopping.
Judging what you describe terrorism because of what the goals of the group are is dangerous. It means that the acts themselves are inconsequential and there is no line for them to worry about crossing.

Mandela could have ended the violence sooner by denouncing it's use as a political weapon, this would have also meant he would have been released from prison earlier but he refused. So next time the Tories are pressed on their 80's stance they would do well to give an answer rather than meekly backing away into a corner saying sorry.

For all Mandela's rights and wrongs one thing scares me. He has been a figurehead, his unity dream that he emerged from prison with (be it genuine or coldly calculated) is now gone. Without it the ANC are free from those shackles and they are well versed in using violence to achieve their goals. 

When Zuma was elected I remember a real fear that he would become the next Mugabe. Well the sight of him and Winnie Mandela side by side and smiling at the weekend should have us all deeply concerned for the future of South Africa.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

I thought you were my friend

Something most upsetting happened this weekend to a friend of mine, well two friends in fact. After a 5 year relationship they broke up.

Pippa was a friend of my wife's from way back, in fact Pippa's mum was her childminder. Dave was someone they knew at school but had moved north a while ago. But a little over five years ago Dave got in touch with Pippa and they started speaking, he moved back down here and they became a couple.That's when I met Dave and we became friends. Friends in our own right actually, with me not just being the other half of his girlfriend's friend. I thought we were pretty close actually.

Well it seems I was wrong. As word reached me of the break up I was saddened to hear that Dave had told Pippa he might move back north. He does have kids up there (he did see them, were very good reasons he moved away) so it isn't at all surprising and as a good friend I thought "whatever makes you happy". But then it hit me, I hadn't heard from him, not a peep. 

Ok so guys don't tend to go all over emotional about these things anyway but I would have honestly expected to hear from him. A chat about how he was feeling, a last get together before he headed back north, hell, a text would have been nice. But it didn't end there.

On the book of face I noticed in the comments of Pippa's status that he had removed all of her friends. As if to somehow wipe out the last five years like they never happened. In a way I get this, you don't want all your ex's friends reporting back your movements but I assumed that he considered me his friend. Pippa is a mate, that's probably about it. Well I am gone as well, it seems he saw me as nothing more than someone he knew through a friend of his other half. 
I am genuinely hurt by this. I don't have many friends because I struggle to let people get close to me after years of being bullied at school and being let down before. Turns out he said to Pippa that friends "They're not worth it". 

Well he can fuck right off then.

Names changed for privacy reasons.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Nelson Mandela was no saint

Twitter exploded last night with the news of Nelson Mandela's death with people competing for the most sycophantic tribute. The all too familiar "I'm so upset by this" bleatings of people desperate to show just how upset they are that someone they didn't know has died. This is always pathetic and in this case made worse by either the ignorance or selective memory of some people.

Firstly I am not a Mandela hater or anything like that. He lived a remarkable life and did achieve a lot of good. Although exactly how much is open for debate given the current state of South Africa and for a supposed socialist (the lefties are working hard to claim him as one of their own) he managed to die a rich man while people starve in his country.

Young people in this country today seem to think he was locked up for purely political reasons. That the Apartheid government hated a black man with a high profile challenging their views and well, they probably did. But the reason he was locked up was the guilty plea for the 156 violent attacks, including bombings, he planned. This was a man who refused to renounce violence and Amnesty even refused to take his case;

“[the] movement recorded that it could not give the name of ‘Prisoner of Conscience’ to anyone associated with violence, even though as in ‘conventional warfare’ a degree of restraint may be exercised”

There is more as well, including some support for dictators (well he was a lefty) and more. An excellent blog by Backbencher gives the highlights. My point is that you can't choose the parts of history you like the best and ignore the rest, imagine if people said, and actually meant, the following.

"Hitler was a genius who turned around Germany's failing economy"

Was Nelson Mandela a great man? Well he did achieve great things but that doesn't make you a great man. Maybe he gets a free ride on his past because of what he was fighting against. Apartheid was disgusting but does that make the deaths of so many innocents ok? Especially given these weren't people working at a legitimate target but bombs placed in public places deliberately, Johannesburg railway station for example.
By only remembering parts of history and not all of it  we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. This what you want of Mandela but Gandhi he wasn't, lets not deify someone with so much blood on their hands. 

What he did wrong in life is as important as what he did right.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Tom Daley circus rolls into town

Roll up roll up, come one come all and see the amazing homosexual as he attempts the daring act of coming out from the closet!

Oh please, this is 2013 and I echoed the reaction of many with a whoop de do, any serious news now? You know Glasgow helicopter, Syria, the Lee Rigby trial, I could go on but you get the point. I decided not to address this in yesterdays blog because it seemed trivial. I have nothing against Daley, actually I admired him long before the events of this week, but there was nothing in him coming out like he did, even if I thought it was silly.

But today the circus rolled into town. He was on the cover of many of the papers and discussed on TV and radio with old mentors, teammates and famous gays wheeled out to comment. This wound me up, it isn't news, sports news maybe but not headline news given what is going on in the world today. Oh how the twitter gay community wailed with "in this day and age they shouldn't have to do it", well simple answer here, don't do it.

It strikes me that the best way for something to be considered normal is to yourself treat it like it is normal. Let them spot you walking hand and hand with your loved one and when they ask the question say "yeah, I'm gay, so what?". Sure a media interest would follow but because it has been discovered in that way it will be reported like most other celebrity relationship stories, but with more attention.

This builds, the more that do it the less interesting it becomes and eventually the journalists see two men/women kissing and go "meh, no big deal, I will let Hello cover it". Why isn't it happening? Well I have two very cynical reasons to suggest.

First, exposure. Brand Daley benefited hugely from all this and he does have a second series of Splash coming up. I'm not saying this is why he chose now to come out, purely the method, maximum exposure. If the second series goes well another will follow and an athlete's career is short, he is cashing in now.

Secondly, because the gay community want it. That's right, I think they don't actually want to have same sex relationships handled in the same way by the media. Just look at yesterday, the media coverage, twitter & Facebook, commentators and more all benefiting the gay community. If we treated it the same way they wouldn't get this.
Don't they make a great couple
Tom Daley was already an inspiration. At 13 he competed in the Beijing Olympics and won European gold. At 14 he became a world champion and at 15 he picked up two Commonwealth golds. After losing his Dad to cancer in 2011 he managed to regain the European title in 2012 and took the bronze in London. Gay or straight it doesn't matter, he is an inspiration for all young people. Don't raise the pedestal just because he likes men.

If you really want to have being in a relationship with someone of the same sex to be treated as no big deal you should start by doing that yourselves.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Man rules for real men

So the New Statesmen are claiming that Movember is racist and sexist, yep, seriously, it's all here in black and white. Well the racist bit is nonsense, nothing else needed to add here but sexist? Well in that cast so is the women's institute and the Moonwalk for breast cancer. Know what, I don't care, nothing wrong with being different.

They seem to hate that the whole "real man" aspect of it and because I hate this kind of nonsense I have decided to make a list of "real man" activities. 

1 - Facial hair. All real men must be able to grow proper facial hair of one of the following types. A mustache, designer stubble or a beard, be it big and full or well trimmed goatee.

2 - Scars . You must have a scar you can talk about and at some point you must have used it, along with a heroic (fake) story, to pick up a woman in a bar.

3 - Toilet seats. Leave them up because, as the ladies like to say, it isn't hard to put it down so isn't going to cause them any problems.

4 - Steak. You are to eat your steak bloody. Rare is as cooked as is acceptable, only women and children have medium cooked steaks. If you want it well done go to Burger King, you don't deserve good food.

5 - All you can eat restaurants. These aren't special offers, they are challenges to your manliness. Avoid vegetables, go for meat, fish and a small amount of carbs. If you haven't undone the top button on your trousers you still have room.

6 - Gas. You will fart and burp in front of anyone, real men don't care what people think. Break the awkward moment after a public burp by scratching your balls.

7 - DIY. Do you own a drill? If not you should pretty much hand back your balls now.

We could probably use these rules to form a club but real men don't need such nonsense. If you want to add a rule stick it in the comments field for consideration.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

The great foodbank giveaway

Ah yes, foodbanks one kind of bank Labour seem to love. Lazily throwing in questions at PMQ's about them to incite nothing more than class war. They don't want a proper debate on why people are using them and if in fact they need to use them.

Before you accuse me of speaking without any knowledge on this subject I should stop you. I do have first hand experience of this area but if I outline what that is my identity may be revealed and I don't want that. 

I blame perception. People seem to think that non-essential items are now a basic entitlement, something that we all must have. Well people need to get over it, fast. If I had my way anyone wanting to use a foodbank would have to have a meeting, in their home, with someone to advise on finances. Someone who could tell them where they can cut back to help afford food because all the time you give people something for free why would they try to afford it? Here are the things I would look at cutting back before giving anyone free food.

Alcohol & Tobacco

The most common substances that people get annoyed about with regards to anyone on benefits or getting a handout. Quite simply if you say you can't afford food but buy either of these things you are pathetic. And if you have kids doing this and saying you can't afford food then you are guilty of child neglect in my opinion.

Smart Phones

Another common accessory for the financially challenged. No matter how things get you have to have an iPhone with angry birds installed. Really? Two points here, you do not need a mobile phone, you think you do but you don't. It is still a nice to have item, not a necessity. If you don't have a land-line at home then one pay as you go, on a basic handset, will work fine. 


I can hear the anguished cries of you all from here. You do not need the internet to survive. You may be use to 24/7 online access but you will cope just fine without. Even if you don't get rid of it completely you could switch onto a cheaper service. For example if you have a high speed fibre optic line then change to basic broadband. Remember the library will have free internet for you, just avoid porn, they don't like I'm told.

Paid TV

All you need is freeview, anything more is a luxury. I don't care what you like to watch on what channel. Are Charlie's Angels reruns better than food?
Does he need a foodbank?
A couple of tips for you. Shop around, not in the "what supermarket does the best deal for my weekly shop", I mean look at certain items and go to several shops. The majority of my shop is in Tesco but we also use Iceland and Lidl for specific items. Doing this can save you quite a bit over time. And finally, eat cheaply. Lots of rice, pasta and such like. The one time in my life I was unemployed for a length of time me and my partner managed fine on her modest salary. Sure it was boring food, but we ate.

If someone made all these cutbacks and savings yet still struggled then I would say that they needed a foodbank. I would expect that kind of situation may be hard to find.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Wrecking ball! - plus other funnies

I am very sorry for this but after a stressful week I am exhausted and couldn't think of anything to write. However I thought I would share something with you.

I love a good video parody, mostly these are song parodies but not always. I thought I would share with you my five favourite ones at the moment in the hope it gets your weekend off to a good start.

Miley Cyrus, wrecking ball performed on Chat roulette. The reactions on here are brilliant, if you don't laugh at this you are dead inside.
Chris Farley brings the story of Rob Ford, the embattled mayor of Toronto to life.

Christmas is approaching and Santa is coming. Lots actually, judging by this video.

Back when Apple launched the iPhone 5 Mondo Media came up with a brilliant take piss of their product launches and product development.

Finally we must pay a visit to the godfather of parodies, Weird Al Yankovic. To be honest I like everything he has done but "Fat" is epic not only for the words but the dance moves and video as a whole.

Enjoy everyone, I promise something better on Monday. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

People like Ian Watkins deserve to die

The news around Ian Watkins has been pretty disturbing to say the least. When the story first broke I couldn't read it all. Yesterday there was more twitter chat about it so I decided to have a look, I wish I hadn't.

For the purposes of this blog the highlights are 13 sexual offences (including two attempts at raping a baby) and the possession of and making of child pornography. If you want the details feel free to look but they are disturbing (I was almost sick) and made worse that some of the evidence was too horrific to report on.

Now he will live out the rest of his life in a comfortable cell, meals, TV, games and protection, all at our expense. Of course he isn't safe in prison and good, I hope his fellow inmates make him suffer unimaginable pain. But life itself is too good for him, Ian Watkins should be executed.

Some will say that in a civilised society you should never participate in capital punishment. Tell me what is civilised in allowing monsters like him to live out a comfortable life, all be it in prison, after what he has done? First to tackle a couple of the key arguments against. Deliberately ignoring morals, if you argue that then read the details and come back to me.

Certainty of guilt

The kicker in any case but when someone will die you have to be sure and mistakes happened in the past but things have changed. Modern science and technology removes doubt in many cases and you can build a fail safe in. One where a judge can only give the death penalty where criteria of "beyond doubt" have been fulfilled.


Hanging wouldn't do the trick, too gruesome and I am not suggesting the electric chair either. I would suggest lethal injection. In the US they use three injections, one to put them under, one to immobilise all muscles and then one to stop the heart. Full details


Would it actually stop any crimes? I don't know, but I do know fear can be a huge factor when people make decisions. Where I do believe it would make a difference is when they approach their plea date. Bargains are common in exchange for guilty pleas and perhaps the fear of death could spare victims and family members the pain of a trial and going over the harrowing details of the crimes committed against them or their loved ones. Obviously only if they plead guilty up front, no deal once past initial plea.

I honestly think when the evidence is so weighty that a bargain should be off the table but the victims are the most important people and without a carrot would someone so evil spare them the pain.

Surely we deserve a sensible debate on this issue.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Dungeons and Drag Queens

The lefties are a curious bunch. Rabid, violent animals frothing at the mouth one moment then pathetic and needy the next, whatever suits the cause at the time I suppose. One thing the fellow twitter users will know is that dissent will not be tolerated, those of opposing views blocked never to be heard from again.

Perhaps this explains why they are so keen on lefty only versions of things. This is something I never understand, they accuse the right of being heartless and out of touch yet cut off contact from those opposed. Well Laurie Penny came up with a cracker, well, I say came up but it looks like it is in motion.
That's right, Penny wants to create a lefty RPG (Role Playing Game), well twitter went into a frenzy, but more on that later. The 140 characters twitter allow aren't enough for me to aid Laurie in her project.

Here is my intro to a lefty RPG.

"My name is Nigel, I am a young man of 23, I was born in the land of Chipping Norton, the horrors of my upbringing haunt me still. This place chokes me, you see although I was born into this world with the cursed label of "male" I am in fact, a woman. 

Oppressed for years I am finally ready find myself, I quit my job and pack up for Brighton. Oh the glory that awaits me, freedom to express who I am, I finally feel like the real me, I am Nigella, although I don't look the part yet."
The player picks up the game as our hero arrives at "Legends" bar and hotel. From here your choices will guide them as they make tough life choices. From the big choices on breast size, hair colour and if the cock should stay or go to the ethical debate around leather shoes guide Nigella through them all. 

Choose your sexuality, dodge transphobia attacks and live on benefits. Experience all this and more in "Dungeons and Drag Queens.

As I mentioned earlier twitter took up arms with the #LeftyRPG tag, here are some of the best I found.

Think you can do better? Go ahead. 

My thanks to @marcokeeffe for helping me with this blog.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Piers Morgan, a weapons grade bellend

Sad news broke yesterday morning that Jonathan Trott is coming home from the Ashes tour early with a "stress related condition". This is a rather vague term that covers a variety of conditions, and while comparisons are being made with Marcus Trescothick you can't just bracket them together in one place. 

Most of you will be lucky enough to never have to deal with a mental illness but believe me, it eats you up in a way you can't imagine. I shall leave the details of my own condition out of this but needless to say I know of what I speak. It is hard enough worrying about the reaction of your friends and family but he has the press and others pouring over the details as well. Surely nobody in the media would be so crass and stupid to pour scorn over his decision.

Step forward Piers Morgan. 

Vague references but obvious what he means, but he wasn't done.
Oh that's it then, so if you employed someone (I know it is a sport but it is also his job) who needed time off for depression you would tell them to suck it up and get on with it or find another job? Such stupidity should be expected from him I suppose, he has history in publishing stuff that he shouldn't.

People can forget what's important and in this case cricket isn't, not even remotely. I honestly don't care about the Ashes anymore, all I want is for Trott to recover and have a happy life with his family.

Get well soon Trott, thank you for being such a great player and I hope to see you back when you are ready

I was racking my brain for a way to end this blog but I didn't have to. I shall leave the last words to Matthew Pinsent. However if you feel like telling Piers how much of a twat he is I have created a handy button to do so. 
The big man himself approves.