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The war on error.
Member Name: thedevilinme
Date: 28/09/08, updated on 28/09/08 (200 review reads)
Advantages: Freedom of speech!
Disadvantages: Freedom of speech!
I'm not in a grumpy mood but I do have Bradford & Bingley shares. Do not read on if you too have B&B shares.
Five things currently irritating me...
A friend of the family made the papers the other day. Emma Faulkner, 24, my little brother's mate, was effectively fined £50 for quite rightfully pulling into a service station for 40 winks. Emma works on the old cruise ships with my brother and it's a tiring gig to get from port to port, but also having to do land based contract catering work until the ship is ready to sail. She fell asleep at this service station overnight in a deserted car-park, not the brightest thing to do but it's better than being drowsy at the wheel. We have all seen those adverts for the two second rule. A number plate recognition camera recorded her plate after the two hour parking limit had clicked up and the £50 fine was in the post. These cameras are supposed to be sold to police forces and internal security departments. A criminal can now buy one. Emma is not the type of girl that uses car parks as free motels and was just tired. Being the spiky gal she is she isn't going to pay the ticket, the camera used purely to raise money from people trying not to cause a pile up on the motorway.
This constant targeting of drivers to bring in revenue is a disgrace. The other day Jeremy Paxman reported that the countries top 10 billionaires-some who have been making millions in the markets of late- paid just £14.7 million pounds in personal tax last year, £9 million of that coming from the inventor of the middle-class hoover in James Dyson. People like Emma are being targeted to find that shortfall. These stories about milking the motorist are in the news all the time. Only last week we are hearing that traffic wardens will be able to hand out tickets to drivers in traffic jams who haven't turned off their engines in the queue. If the motorist doesn't turn of the engine when instructed then you go into the book. I know there has been a rule for while now where you can get tickets for leaving your engine idling when you're not in the car but this is just plain antagonistic.
Another story in the news this week on the same subject was a guy who parked illegally-according to the owners of the land-and was toed within four minutes of leaving the vehicle by some pirate clampers! With high fuel costs, speed cameras and those pesky wardens everywhere we are driving people out of towns and shopping areas and that can't be a good thing in anyone's book. Treat the drivers with fairness Mr Brown!!
The film American Beauty really makes me pull my hair out as it's an example of one of those movies you have been told it's really great yet it's really just another smug mid-life crisis movie. That's how I feel about modern art. It's empty, vacuous and all about the hype. Potential buyers are told by people paid to tell you that modern art is meaningful and profound and some people just need to believe that hype. But when you actually stare at Warhol's paintings of tins of tomatoes then that really is all that it is, and Warhol knows that too, taking the pi** out of the believers. Warhol made his art by mass production methods in his own factories to make as much money as possible once he had made his name. The Damien Hurst's of today do the same thing; make their money because their work is hyped up by the same few people who buy it and so it becomes a false economy. He continues to churn out thoughtless crap and because it's a Hurst's and so sells, just like Warhol did in the 60s. Rich people think they can be judged by their art work collections and buying this crap shows how vacuous they are. I have yet to see any modern art that takes my breath away.
-The Paralympics on TV-
I'm afraid I might upset one or two of you but I just couldn't get into the Paralympics. I was quite impressed with wheelchair basketball as it looked fun and involved a lot more skill than the real basketball but on the whole the games was just very boring. The whole point of elite sport to me is it's a mix of the best of the best trying to break records and that seasoning of sex appeal and criticality of the performances into the mix make sit exciting. But on the TV coverage of this there's no criticism when someone has underperformed and so no real excitement in the commentary and so the event. I'm sure the coverage lifted the hearts of friends, relatives and the few viewers enjoying the pictures from China, and most importantly the competitor's themselves, but I doubt whether more than 200,000 a night tuned in. I am pretty sure no one bid for TV rights, that's for sure, this hidden away on BBC2, tomboy Clair Balding not even getting a studio to host from.
The reasons I pretty much cringed at the games is that I felt like I was a voyeur, looking in on these guys and girls personal struggle, rather than watching competitive sport. This wasn't about perfection but sympathy, and the competitors deserved more respect than that. The whole thing just feels patronizing to the contestants and the viewer. I'm sure most of them feel that way too and only really want friends and family to see their impressive triumphs as this is really about winning back your self-esteem disability can quickly destroy than winning medals.
It was the system of mixing classes in the pool and on that track that baffled me, K1s, Z3`s and B7s , all tearing down the lanes at different speeds. The classifications are based on disabilities but how many of the B7s are there and actually competed in the heats? At times there were two or three different medal races going on at the same time in the pool races. It's like watching your kid's school sports day and all the kids getting a pat on the head and a prize for their efforts. It was just too varied.
Some of it was uncomfortably comical at times, like when the dwarf and midget class people were doing the field events. I don't need to draw you a picture. The point here is why are they in a disability games because they are small? Watching someone just over three feet throw a shot put is purely about the producer making people laugh at them, again that intrusion I was talking about. The positive were always there, a very brave young Brit who won a swimming race at just 13-years-old bravely battled on after hearing her mum had died back home and so couldn't see her achievement. But her victory was over just seven other people in her class. The reason its just seven people is because third world nations couldn't compete in China because of cost issues and so in a way the para games were even more elite than the proper Olympics.
It was noticeable just how close second placed team GB was to China in the medal tables, twice heading the mighty home team during the 15 days. Our team, although you don't actually want to say it, was boosted by the militaries ever increasing pool of paraplegics who have been blown apart in Iraq and Afghanistan in search of American oil dollars. America backed that up by finishing third in the table. You can understand how the games would help top get that anger and feeling of betrayal out. The Aussies were again behind us back in fifth place. South Africa, who had taken just the one silver medal in the proper games, took 30 medals here.
1 China (89) 211
2 Great Britain (42) 102
3 United States (36) 99
4 Ukraine (24) 74
5 Australia (23) 79
6 South Africa (21) 30
7 Canada (19) 50
8 Russia (18) 63
9 Brazil (16) 47
10 Spain (15) 58
It's all rather ironic to hold the disability games in China as the country has one fifth of the worlds population and has had a shocking record on treating disabled people over the decades, many killed at birth or shipped off to camps right up until the new millennium. The Ukraine got an unexpected third place in the final medal table and this was mainly to do with their athletes being on a $100,000 bonus to win gold. Now I'm not suggesting they cheated by using able bodies people in the games to do that but they finished dramatically higher in the table than Athens in 2004. Spain was memorably caught out at the 1996 games when a big chunk of their wheelchair basketball team was in fact able bodied cheaters. That's the sort of thing the French do!
Apparently there were some 67,000 bail jumpers in 2006, 4000 of them robbery and rape suspects, guys that will do those things again if given the slightest chance. I want to know why prisons aren't a priority here. There are 6000 speed cameras that can catch pensioners doing 36mph in a 30mph but we can't get thugs to court. That headline figure of 67,000 was bought to ahead by the case where the ex copper was allowed out to then go on and kill his mother-in-law, even though he was at risk at doing exactly that.
New Labor just doesn't get what the public want. If they build more prisons and get on top of this then they can't start winning votes back. One-in-seven prisoners here are foreign nationals, that quota shooting up off the back of our unmetered immigration policy, an example of our chaotic crime and immigration policy.
Now it's not the soldiers that die in general war that annoy me. Losing your son or daughter in war is a terrible thing for parents, of course. It's deemed an honorable profession to be involved in for working class people when fighting honorable wars and so young people join up on pride alone. But there's nothing honorable about Iraq, those increasingly small coffin shaped paragraphs in the national press to announce another Darren or Jason has been blown up by a roadside bomb testament to that fact. People say soldiers fight for Queen and country, laying down their lives for you and me, in return we the people are supposed to honor their memory. But the reality is far different. Soldiers fight firstly for their mates and regiment, then the beer and the girls in 'squaddie' pubs and then the money to buy those beers so to start those fights. That's what soldiers are to me I'm afraid. I don't figure in their final thoughts when the bullets are flying. The days of them dying on the battlefield with a picture of the queen in their back pockets are long gone. So if that is the case then why is the guilt passed on to us and the government by grieving parents?
Soldiers are not the most likeable bunch of guys in society in my experience and are trained to kill rather than save lives. That can't be a good thing. What bugs me is when the army is publicly attacked by parents, usually because their kids are bullied at places like Deepcut, exposed like they were on that recent underground BBC documentary. It was quite clear that some white English kids were racist and joining up to kill Muslims. That's not exactly honorable.
Most people that join the forces usually do because their family was in the forces and those relatives find it hard to carry that guilt when their friends and family are injured or even killed in the line of duty. But instead of blaming themselves for their kids joining up they blame everyone else, including the armed forces themselves. Tell them to join the Navy! No one gets killed in the Navy anymore. But not only do they blame them, they go on and on blaming them as if it will some how bring their kids back. The RAFs more supercilious parents and relatives are the worst for this by far and demand more and more public enquiry's until they get closure, claiming that equipment shortages are dangerous and the planes are not safe! HELLO! They are in the army; of course it's bloody dangerous! There are bullets and shells flying around, many of those hitting civilians from your kids guns! In fact for everyone insurgent killed in Iraq some 250,000 bullets were fired. If those bullets are not hitting the bad guys then what are they hitting? Now who's the more dangerous? Parents of the forces in Iraq should be doing everything they can to get them out of there, not blame the army for putting them in the way of the enemy. I certainly respect the forces in Afghanistan as there are things to be done there that need to be done, my covenant of trust well and truly open there, but not with Iraq. If you son didn't have a bullet proof vest in Iraq then think about all the children blown apart who don't have a vest in this stupid war we started over oil.
Summary: Freedom of speach!