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Quote #2

No Libertarian has struggled to make ends meat.

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Labour election results in and ‘the other milliband’ has been elected as leader to the only party which is able to stand up to the ConDem coalition.

What??

That is like picking Rob Green to be England keeper…again. It must give Labour voters a similar feeling to that of Tim Henman enthusiasts during his height; you may like him but you know in the back of your mind he is never going to go all the way.

There is one hope for ‘Red Ed’ though. And that is to actually be a little bit red.

Please note that this plan will only work if he gets over the cold he’s been having for the past 40 years which makes him always sound bunged up. Burlusconi will eat him alive.

‘Prime Minister Ed’ sounds like a nickname that the kid who your mum made you play with would create for himself.

Ed hasn’t got the experience of success in a department; nor of sticking to his principles when it came to climate change policy.

Threaten to tax carrier bags 5p whilst approving airport expansion up and down the country? If he meant what he said; that climate change is the greatest threat to our [global] society then the ‘anything for jobs’ ideas kicking around since the recession wouldn’t have entered into it.

Anyway, that is getting a little side-tracked.

Ed can’t let down old labour voters or he’ll haemorrhage traditionalist labour supporters to parties such as the Greens. Sounds crazy at first but Brighton could just be the beginning.

Policies which Blair and Brown had the most criticism over were not Old Labour ideals; Labour can’t suffer take a leader whom ignores the core again.

I just sincerely hope he doesn’t end up a turncoat like Clegg.

If Ed can’t get his support from the centre left, he is certainly going to struggle. Where else is support going to come from?

And Ed doesn’t fancy all that hard work, he could just send his brother into work; not many people will know the difference. Problem solved.

Quote #1

No good ever comes from burning books

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-10912754

The EU is discussing the idea of levying taxes directly rather than through fixed contributions by each state. It has not confirmed what its going to do yet or indeed if its going ahead at all. Regardless of what happens I’m sure the daily mails and telegraphs of the EU will jump all over it.

What is worrying me is that I’m on their side for this one.

This is a rarity for me; this never happens! My politics is left of centre; I’m for the scrapping of trident and scaling down of the nuclear power plant construction programme. I’m for liberalised immigration policies, gay rights, carbon dioxide commitments and increasing the amount of international aid. It’s a bit weird to be EU bashing; I feel a bit dirty to be honest. Like when you hear somebody talk badly about one of your friends about something you agree on like their nose picking habit.

The EU should not levy taxes directly until it cleans up its act. More accountability in terms of MEP expenses and in the powers they have (policies are decided by the commission – a non elected body). Less money should be spent on wasteful policies which breed inefficiency – namely the CAP. It’s like if Oliver [from Oliver Twist] was overweight and asked “please sir can I have some more” whilst holding up a collider that was made outside the EU in a soup kitchen which is run by a public-private partnership.

The figures for the EU’s expenditure I’m currently looking at can be found at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8036096.stm#start. I know they’re 3 years out of date and there has been some reform since then but not a whole lot.

Judging by how much our politicians love to remind us that our economies will be eaten alive by India and China in the coming decades, shouldn’t we be spending more than 10% of what we spent on the CAP on education, innovation and research [combined]? Shouldn’t we be spending more on education, innovation and research [combined] than we do on administration of the EU? Shouldn’t we not be giving €3 billion a year to the unelected European Commission. Does that worry you? It should.

I’ll have the meetings in my house for a fiver; let free market economics into this area! Though I wouldn’t have had Mandelson round when he was the UK commissioner. I wouldn’t have offered him any biscuits anyway.

On top of that MEPs are paid €298 to attend parliament. The expenses system is corrupt; and UK Labour and Conservative MEPs voted against the total transparency of MEP expenses. Then they claim it’s a corrupt system! Tasty, tasty hypocrisy and yet we vote them in time and time again.

I’m all for the EU. I’m all for what it set out to stand for and for most of what it wants to stand for. Unfortunately without accountability of the decision makers or the careful spending of tax money it doesn’t have my support in this notion of raising taxes directly.

Education, regional aid and research and innovation should be top of the list. Not agricultural subsidies which are led us to butter mountains and wine lakes. Let alone the way they damage agriculture in developing countries as we then dump our goods on them at below-market rates.

All this makes it laughable when national governments talk about aid. As Jeremy Hardy says, its like knowingly dropping a tonne of bricks on somebody then saying “because I’m a responsible person I’m going to pick up all of these bricks”. How kind our governments are; lets pat them on the back for being so moral.

So, EU – grow up and sort yourself out. There’d be nothing better than watching the media right wing as they try to criticise you but being unable to. At the moment you’re making it too easy for them. We want you to be like Michael Palin; nobody dislikes Michael Palin. What a nice man he is; you could learn something from him.

There’s a pun about being a joke somewhere there; help yourself to it.

I wish I was able to articulate my ranting better. I should have become an English student instead of an Environmental student; a lake full of wine does sound decadently fun right now. x

Am I a music snob?

At the moment I’m listening to I Giorni by Ludovico Einaudi and it is simply awesome. And I mean that in the proper sense of the word, not like when you have an ice-cream or a new pair of trainers, I mean sun-set from a hill whilst you’re holding somebody you love when you feel life simply can’t get better kind of awesome.

I say this because I remember growing up and clearly disliking classical music without ever listening to it – akin to certain types of middle class people who won’t try a kebab because it conflicts with their morals. Here was this genre of music for dull people – old farts who listen to it whilst holding a glass of port in one hand and are throttling the servant with the other. Ultimately, people listening to classical music just because its bad form to wear a shirt that says ‘I have more money than you’.

But in the words of Bob Dylan ‘things have changed’; I’m 21 only now have I got the minerals to cautiously dip my toes into the bottomless lake that is ‘Classical Music’.

I know it’s not cool. It’s NEVER going to be cool but it isn’t *trying* to be cool and that suits me because neither am I. I lost that battle when I was born with hands the size of doors. This earned me the nickname ‘monkey hands’ from one of my best mates and its stuck with me since.
Cheers for that, Vikkie.

Anyway, I don’t believe some music is better than other music. Superiority spawns ignorance and I could be missing out on a whole range of artists whom I could listen to all day. Music is like colour – it is everywhere. It transcends all national barriers, languages and conflicts, but if you limit yourself to what colours you see you could be missing out on a masterpiece.

Mmm clichés.

But who’s grown up and heard their favourite band called ‘noise’. We all have. Which I’ve always thought this argument rather silly; that’s all music is – beautiful noise its like looking at a crap painting and proclaiming “Its not a painting; its just colours!”.

It doesn’t have to be beautiful in a narrow minded sense, but should contain some emotion – this is the most important thing to me. Music has the power to make you feel a whole range of emotions, to not exploit this is a crime. It can lift you up to soaring heights, remind you of fantastic times and bring back pain. It can console you in times of need, it can leave you feeling in awe and wonderment, it can tell you a story and it can make the hairs stand on the back of your neck. That’s beautiful.

Given all these it’s a bit disheartening that the human race opts into pop idol and the such. It’s like God decalred to the nation: “You can have any super-power you want! You could fly, you could predict the future, you could turn invisible, you could bring people back from the dead; you could do anything beyond your wildest dreams!” and we passed the mic over to Simon Cowell who responded “I want the superpower to make lots of money and make Piers Morgan famous”.

I listen to pop every, it can be fun. But its like a caravan holiday in Wales whilst its pouring it down outside and the loo is broken – its not somewhere you want to dwell too long but you can see the funny side.

I’m not saying take all music seriously and all music that doesn’t try to change the world is bad per se, but I’ve come to the conclusion that even though you can’t say there’s good or bad music, you can decide [in your own head] what is beautiful by what leaves you in awe.

For me, there’s just some music where I have to bite my lip because its so close to perfection and nowhere amongst that list of music is a pop-idol winner.

Hmmm…I guess that does make me a snob. Sorry Will Young.

Find a song which is inspiringly good. Something so good you can think of it as delicious. Personally, I’d go for Ólafur Arnalds, Sigur Rós or Einaudi. I can’t even do justice to how moving music can be; I can’t put it into words. You’ll just have to listen to the pieces which suit your taste. I don’t believe in a soul, but music is the most convincing argument that one exists. I feel like an evangelist but when you discover this place – if you haven’t already – you’ll find it’s a place of endless epiphanies.

Right…I’d better get some port and hire a servant with a strong neck I guess.

x

Religion; for some people its everything and for some people it’s a nuisance.

Personally, I think it’s all about prioritising what is more important. Take the Bible and a contentious issue; save the poor or stone the gays; what’s it going to be?
And on the face of it this may appear a gross simplification of the issues facing people today. However, considering that people have only a finite amount of time/resources to work towards a goal and that some issues may have more broad support than others (in or outside the religious community) surely its better to concentrate on issues which are more universal and cause the most suffering so we can eradicate them.

It simply beggars belief to think of the multitude of protests that were aimed against Obama’s health reforms – how would Jesus have voted on the legislation? Help the poor or save money for the rich?

The problem with many areas of religion is that opinions are dictated by scripture. And if asked why things are why they are in scripture any answer is little more than something you’d expect to hear from any angry parent: “because it is!”

That’s not good enough for me or for a heck of a lot of people who need to back up their opinions with a reasoned argument. Ultimately, that the course of action is to help the most people and not erode anybody’s human rights.

Look at groups like a Quakers who were instrumental in the abolition of slavery, creating decent working conditions and allowing religious freedom and other issues. How will history remember them? I hope they are remembered for their causes and not for porridge oats.

Its not a ‘holier than thou’ position – it’s a consolatory and collaborative position. I’m more inclined to believe there are many out there who will read things like this and say my position is one of atheistic arrogance. Is it? Or is it more arrogant to translate your views into my laws? If you don’t like gay marriages, then don’t have one! If you don’t like evolution then choose not to believe in it yourself,

If creationists could find evidence and go through the same rigorous process that other theories have had to go through like evolution or gravity then there’s no reason why the 2 theories [evolution and intelligent design/creationism] couldn’t be taught alongside.

None of us are perfect. None of us have the answers to life’s great mysteries and none of us have the right to take away another person’s human rights to satisfy their own ideological inclinations. However, all of us are capable of talking to people from different communities and backgrounds, all of us are capable of helping one another and all of us are capable of collaborating on important issues and showing solidarity with other human beings. So lets crack these problems first before infringing on civil liberties, eh?

Football.

On the one hand you have fans who’ll drive to the other side of the country week in, week out whilst others attempt to avoid it those people who you know will corner you at a house party and tell you all about how they walked barefoot in India for 9 months and it was “like sooo ethnic and I even had rice for like FOUR days in a row”.
We all know one.

One of the first things I noticed is how crowds behave differently, particularly when their team is losing. On the one hand you’ll have some groups of fans having what seems to be a carnival in the stadium whilst on the flip-side you get over serious don’t look like they are enjoying it at all; they look stressed and angry. Dare I say it, England fans seem to fall into this category. Obviously in either case there are exceptions.

I watched the England V Germany drubbing in a packed bar and the atmosphere was incredible. Until Germany scored.

Then it was nothing but chants and songs about the world wars and – quite simply ironic – screams of “You racist german nazi!”. Granted this was only from a few in the crowd but it did change the atmosphere somewhat.

We’ve stuck into several detrimental states of mind at the same time.

Firstly, there are too many fans who think we are great at everything “Because we are English and they are scum” – whoever the opposition is.

Secondly, footballers (and for that matter other sports personalities, musicians and celebrities) are placed on ridiculous pedestals. We need to remind ourselves once in a while that everybody makes mistakes even if you are paid millions of pounds a year and that yes, referees will make mistakes as well.

This brings me onto my third key observation on mindsets; football needs to be brought into the 21st century and FIFA needs to grow up and realise.

I’ve had enough of diving, unpunished brutal fouls, goals being disallowed which were clearly in and 0-0 draws and time wasting.

I’m aware that most people who aren’t football’s greatest fans turn all Daily Mail on it: “Red cards for pulling shirts, every foul should mean at least a yellow, send of divers and they simply wouldn’t do it.”

Wrong. They still would do it, but perhaps not as much.

If it were up to me, there seems to be a few things which could be brought in overnight which would hopefully make football more appealing.

1) All games have to end in a win. In the knockout stages of any tournament when 90 minutes is up and it goes to extra time then penalties if need be. Why not bring this into all games? No more dismal, underwhelming 0-0 draws to reward half a day’s wages, 5 hour round-trips and sitting in the pissing rain for hours. Every game would have a winner and it would bring some more drama. You couldn’t just hang back and hold possession if all you need is a draw. Fans suffer when games are dull…’simples’.

2) An appeal system like in Tennis. For example if you have been booked and you think it is unjustified or scored – what you think looks like – a goal which has been disallowed or a whole other series of events then you can appeal the ref’s decision and go to a video ref. There would need to be a maximum number of incorrect appeals to end up with even more time wasting but nobody could argue with video evidence and we wouldn’t all be thinking ‘what if Lampard’s goal HAD been allowed?’

So that’s it, there’s plenty of other things out there which aren’t quite so serious like a multi-ball system if a player mentions a certain buzz-word, when at the same time all the ball boys throw their balls onto the pitch; compulsory mullet for Christiano Ronaldo – that would be deliciously absurd.

Not as absurd as a wage cap. You can almost imagine mentioning all the silly ideas to Sepp Blatter and as soon as a wage cap is mentioned he’d remark “you’re just being stupid now, mate”. Then again, he did say women footballers should wear short shorts so its not beyond the realm of possibility that 3 foot afros could be phased in for every player with an even number on their shirt and a lottery to decide which one player has to play in wellington boots for 10 minutes. More to the point, embarrassing ridiculous dives by replaying them again and again and again.

There is quite an argument to warrant this. Remember when Rivaldo clutched his face in agony and crumpled when he was waiting to take that corner years ago? The reason why the video footage keeps getting shown over and over again is not because it was such a shocking feign at all; its because he looked like a prize tit in front of millions of people.
Priceless.

So that’s it. Rant over.

Frankly, I’m all for a compulsory afro.