Wednesday, November 04, 2009

It’s freedom of speech time again.

The BBC, Question Time, Nick Griffin.

You know the rest. Schoolyard-style bullying masquerading as political discussion.

Then there was the outrage that a racist such as Griffin, the leader of the British National Party, was allowed airtime to speak on the BBC.

Now, I’m no great fan of Nick Griffin or the BNP. Having spent a day in his company (for a project called Outsiders) I feel my views are not based on any kind of propaganda or misrepresentation.

But I do not like the way Griffin was treated. When the press shows bias in it’s handling of certain people just because it disagrees with that person’s views, it is devaluing itself.

Like it or not, the BNP are a political party. People vote for them. They should not be denied a place on the panel of a political talk show.

I can’t believe it took so long for someone from the BNP to appear on the show.

The most often cited reason for not allowing Griffin on Question Time was because he would somehow con people by charm and win more votes than he deserves. Having never seen a politician able to con people with charm, I wonder why there are those who think Griffin has the gift of the gab.

Whatever attributes Griffin does possess, the gift of the gab is not one of them.

He struggled on Question Time. But he should not have been bullied.
Gorilla's missed

With my head still spinning from all the multi-media conferences I’ve been to lately, it’s quite lovely to see some businesses still doing things the old fashioned way – with shit press releases.

In fact, this press release is so bad I include it here in its entirety. I only pray that Anna does not read this before she buys me my Christmas present.


This year, why not surprise the man in your life with something really useful for his Christmas stocking?

As an alternative to cluttering up his drawers with terrible ties, comedy socks and more cuff links - Gorilla Glue has some great gift ideas ideally suited to the DIY Dad, home handyman or hobbyist.

Gorilla Glue is a must-have for every household. One of the toughest and most versatile all-purpose adhesives available, it’s ideal for almost any domestic fixes, building repairs and creative projects.

Gorilla Glue fixes things other glues might not be able to, and once something is glued it won’t come undone.

It can be used to repair most material including wood, stone, metal, ceramics, glass and foam. Gorilla Glue is 100% waterproof and temperature resistant, making it the perfect choice for projects and repairs indoors or out.

It's also available in a handy Precision Glue Pen applicator, perfect for smaller jobs, on-the-spot repairs, model building and other creative craft projects requiring pin-point application and control.

If your man likes to venture into the ‘great outdoors’ then Gorilla Tape is the perfect gift to stick in his backpack. The tough, lightweight tape will repair, patch, or stick almost any material while camping, hunting, backpacking, fishing, hiking, boating, surfing or bicycling.

And it’s weatherproof so you can even stick wet surfaces together and use it to stop leaks.

Gorilla Glue’s inexpensive range comes in fun and funky packaging and is bound to be a useful addition to any Christmas stocking or tool-box!

Prices for Gorilla Glue, Precision Glue Pen and Gorilla Tape start at just £5.49, £3.99 and £5.49 respectively. Products are available from all good hardware stores.


My goodness.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants and ignorance

Britain’s biggest problem is immigration. Thousands of people are flooding in to the country every year putting a strain on our resources and draining the finances of the hardworking taxpayer.

My biggest problem is that too many British residents do not know enough about the subject to have an informed opinion. They are persuaded by soundbites and factually deficient arguments in the media. They allow racist prejudice to affect their point of view.

Here’s a brief explanation of what refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants actually are.

A refugee is a person who flees their own country to escape conflict, persecution or natural disaster. A person who is seeking to be recognized as a refugee is an asylum seeker.

An immigrant is someone who comes to another country to work. An illegal immigrant is someone who enters another country without permission.

Why would you not want an asylum seeker to be granted refugee statues if they are being persecuted in their own country?

If someone wants to come to Britain and contribute to the economy, why kick up such a fuss? Ahhhh, it’s the bloody number of them coming over – that’s the problem. Stop this lot getting in and this proud land will be problem free.

This is the numbers bit:

In the first four months of 2009, 8,830 people applied for asylum in the UK. That equates to roughly 35,320 applications per year. Approximately 60per cent were granted asylum.

In 2006, 591,000 immigrants arrived in the UK to work. During the same year 400,000 actually left the country – emigrated – to work abroad. (These figures are from the The Economic Impact of Immigration report which also said that immigration added £6billion to the UK economy.)

Oh and this:

There are 4.5 million people of working-age claiming benefits in the UK. In other words, there are 4.5m in Britain not working.

There will be genuine claimants... but how many are playing the system? Too bloody many. It’s no secret it goes on. Living off the systems has made this country famous. Too many people are on the sick, skiving, living off taxpayers and watching Jeremy Kyle. (Government figures from November 2008).

That’s 4.5million. This is the real problem. Not all of these are genuinely unemployable or genuinely incapacitated.

This is where Britain has problems - on the hundreds of rundown housing estates were generations of families have never worked or paid rent out from their own pockets.

These same people, British to the core, are happy to condemn the country’s immigration policy without the ability to admit that they are the ones who are running the country in to the ground. These are the ignorants. I’d love to kick them all out.

Further details from these government reports: here and here.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Free world versus the other lot.

Europe and America, the Western civilised world, the free world. We love ourselves because our society is built on fairness, equal rights and, most importantly, freedom (with a little help from God along the way).

This modern world prides itself on its freedom, - freedom to choose, freedom to speak.

So why on earth has a short broadcast by Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a British TV network caused such outrage?

Ahmadinejad, who looks like a distant relative of Roy Keane but is probably not as hardline as the uncompromising Irishman, was given a few minutes airtime on Channel 4s Alternative Christmas Speech.

The item has run for several years now and started as a satirical alternative to the traditional Christmas message from the Queen.

In predictable fashion, outrage began pouring through press outlets at as critical critics criticised the decision to give Iran's president a chance to air his views. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office were the first to condemn the broadcast.

I'm no historian or politician but from what I've learned from the past, both recent and history, is that problems occur - or are exacerbated - by the failure of two sides to communicate, discuss and conciliate.

So surely it is no bad thing to hear a point of view from a man who some see whenever the words terrorism or axis of evil are booted around.

Far from inflame the situation this country is embroiled in, either in Afghanistan, Iraq, listening to this man may enable future compromise more, not less, likely.

I find the attitude of those criticising Channel 4s brilliant idea to organise and broadcast Ahmadinejad's speech idiotic. These are the same people who will tell you of their pride in their nation and their pride to live in freedom - then they complain when that rfreedom of speech right is exercised by someone who's views they disagree with.

I'm not saying I agree with the things Ahmadinejad said, just that it is right that he got the chance to say it.

If you're going to judge a man or a nation, at least do it after you've heard what they have to say - don't do it without even listening because you're then in danger of acting like the thing you despise.

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Junk food and obesity in Britain

The fats of life: 84 per cent of Brits are unhappy with their bodies.

Twenty-eight per cent survive on a ready-made meal and junk food diet. I can only presume that the other 72 per cent are washing down their salads with mars bars, lager and cherry coke.

Statistics can be manipulated, twisted or simply made up. But there can be no denying the fact that Britain is full of fat so and so’s.

You only have to walk down the high street to see how overweight this nation has become – and I’m not talking about podgy old grannies with ankles like kebab joints.

It’s the young, the twentysomethings, the teenagers and the eight-year-olds. It fills me up with shame. I wish they felt the same.

While there is no doubt the fat phenomenon has infested us from America we have to look around us and ask: Why aren’t everyone else as fat as us?

Obesity is nowhere near the problem across the rest of Europe as it is here.

This year I have hosted a Dane and a beautiful Dutch girl into my home.

The Dane, stopping off as he walked from Lands End to John O’Groats, told me the most outstanding feature of his journey so far had been the size of the British belly. He has travelled extensively round Europe. He was disgusted.

The Dutch girl, a food journalist, was horrified at the junk-food dominated eating habits in Britain.

All I could say to both of them was: You’re right.

This nation has lush farmland, is surrounded by rich oceans and has enough multi-cultural influences to be able to produce the finest, freshest meals for itself.

Instead we struggle to peel potatoes and live on a diet of packet pies and frozen meals. If you eat these sort of foods regularly you should be ashamed of yourself and your lardy arse.

I say to the 84 per cent: If you’re unhappy with your bodies, do something about it you fat f***ers.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dislike him or loathe him, Jamie Oliver said this on Sunday about the people of Britain:

"People have huge TV sets - a lot bigger than mine - state-of-the-art mobile phones, cars and they get drunk in pubs at the weekend... their poverty shows in the way they feed themselves.

"I found the cooking of the inhabitants of the slums in Soweto a lot more diverse than ours... I think a lot of English people's food lacks heart. It's bland."

"We have a culture of alcohol and we're more beer-orientated ... the only people who drink more than us are the Irish and the Scottish."

"We used to cook fabulous dishes. It's all in the past. Unlike French people... we have lost our traditions."

One of the British newspapers which reported this story criticised Oliver in its comments column for these remarks.

But they did not stop to think whether Oliver was actually right? Another example of the British tabloid press criticising someone for making a common sense statement because it is not what they think the public wants to hear.

For every family in Britain who sits down and has a home cooked meal together, I'll show you 10 who eat crap on their laps in their living rooms.

For every family who sit and talk to each other in the evening, I'll give you 50 who sit in silence beneath a TV so huge it takes up half of the living room.

I can't claim to know what's being fried in the kitchen's of Soweto - though Oliver does and I'll take his word for it - but in Britain the food being cooked appalling (we are an island rich in land and sea food for Christ's sake).

And I'd go as far as to say that half the people eating ready meals have only rudimentary knowledge of the microwave, never mind a cooker.

A well-travelled Danish friend who recently visited said he was surprised at how obese this nation has become. He was being polite. The truth us, we're so fat we should be ashamed.

Monday, May 19, 2008

There’s something missing from my life. It was the moment I dreaded ever taking place. But it happened and it’s as bad as I had feared. The only saving grace is that James Whale’s removal from the airwaves was through being fired and not through death.

That’s how I envisaged it. Tuning in to talkSPORT one night to find out that one of this countries greatest broadcasters had keeled over, with all the feelings of bereavement that is all too common for someone you’ve never met but listened to almost every night for the last 13 years.

He backed Boris Johnson ahead of the London Mayoral elections. TalkSPORT sacked him even before Ofcom completed their investigation.

Whale, who is still a legend in the North-east from his stint as a late night phone-in host on Metro radio in the mid-70s, is a rare breed of broadcaster who can flit seamlessly from smut to international politics seamlessly, while pouring a bucketload of irony over the airwaves at the same time.

Plain talking is something which talkSPORT has tried to patent in recent years. But while George Galloway and Jon Gaunt are both bias and unable to actually conduct a proper discussion without their ego’s getting in the way, Whale gives full satisfaction. All three presenters are confrontational, but Whale is on his own in his ability to articulate and engender genuine affection from a large chunk of his audience.

His removal from the airwaves leaves a hole in my life, as I’m sure it does for many others. Though why he has agreed to jump quickly into a lightweight presenting job with Bid TV is as perplexing as it is saddening.

Still, you can only hope that this TV appearance is brief and does not dilute his standing in broadcasting before another radio job comes along, hopefully on a national station.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

If you've never been to the UK, you won't be aware that this fine country is on the verge of gridlock because the number of cars far outweigh our road capacity.
You can't get from one end of the counrty to another, or into a major city, without a major congestion headache.

And as if heavy traffic enough, you've got the middle lane cruisers
Middle lane cruisers.

Never has there been anyone so oblivious to their own offending ways.
Able to turn a peaceful three-lane motorway into a busy, crawling bottleneck without a single turn of the wheel. Scourge of the roads, I say.

So here we are, bombing along at 60mph in the 'slow' inside lane and in the distance is nothing but a middle lane cruiser. You have to change lanes twice to overtake them. But before you know it the 80mph Jag and the 98mph Mercedes are coming up fast. Before you know it there's a cue. Everyone slows down. Then more cars arrive.

The middle lane cruiser carries on unaware of the fury pumping behind them.

You get past. You immediately pull back into the slow lane, trying to alert them to their stupidity. They carry on cruising. They carry on infuriating us all.

I know a girl who is a serious middle lane cruiser. She often returns from her motorway travels to tell her husband and friends. 'It was really weird. I kept getting flashed by people on the motorway'. No, you're really stupid. Pack in the cruising.

Motorway driving is bad enough, busy enough, without needles extra traffic which these poor drivers cause.

It's easy to get annoyed driving, Road Rage they used to call it. But middle lane cruising is the one single thing which gets me. You can bet your life that when you hit a four lane motorway the middle lane cruiser slips in to lane three, thus causing exactly the same congestion problem over a wider area.

We need a government advertising campaign to stamp out this nasty little habit. Gordon? Gordon? Are you listening, Gordon?