Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pillock Of The Week

The pillock just had to be a caller to the Jeremy Vine show yesterday on BBC Radio 2.

I was taking my beloved to visit her mother in hospital  in Manchester and was listening to the radio in the car. Part of the show was a discussion about Syria. Now call me a cynical old fart if you will, but I'm not convinced that we aren't being fed bullshit about Syria and other Arab countries by our governments in the West. But that's another issue.

Anyway, this particular participant, a texter or emailer I think, must have just discovered that the President of Syria has an English wife, Asma. Her bright idea to end the violence in Syria was for the British authorities to put Asma's English relatives under house arrest until hubby, Mr President, stops being nasty to people.

By that logic, if you have a relative somewhere in the world who might get into trouble be prepared, if this nutty pillock has her way you might find yourself in shackles because little Chantal or Mackenzie has been shoplifting in Australia on their gap year and you happen to be cousin/aunt/brother or whatever to the delinquent.

She might think it a form of diplomacy, I think it's more a form of kidnapping pretty much on a par with those pirates in the Indian Ocean. I suppose it does go some way to explaining how the self-righteous anti-paedophile lynch mob a few years back ransacked a paediatrician's home. A lot of not very bright people about.

She was closely followed by this week's runner up pillock, President Obama. He referred to Auschwitz as 'a Polish death camp'. His clanger was quaintly brushed away by his sycophants as a 'misstatement'. No it wasn't, whatever 'misstatement' means, it was a cock up. Imagine the uproar if George Bush had said that. There may be differences in English between us and the Americans but that goes beyond just linguistic differences. No wonder the Poles are pissed off.

God help us!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Police State-Shoplifters Of The World Unite!

The bastard who did this should hang!
When I was coming round this morning I got an awful shock, up popped Caroline Spelman MP, Minister of State for Mithering and Nannying. I can't stand the woman.

She was banging on, with that smug look on her face, about fines for that awful crime of leaving your wheelie bin lid up and the even more anti-social crime of leaving your wheelie bin out too early.

 The world is crumbling, it looks like we're limbering up for bombing the crap out of Syria and the unelected EU dictator of Italy wants to close down Italian football and that silly cow is banging on about wheelie bin lids!

The thrust of what she was on about? Well, our glorious unelected government has lowered the fines for the above offences to a mere £80. She proudly proclaimed that the previous fines were disproportionate and the new fines put the guilty on a par with shoplifters. Oh yippy bloody doo! So our glorious nanny state equates putting your bin out a day early with shoplifting. Says it all really.

Over to you Morrissey and The Smiths, a song that has never been more relevant:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorandum From The Prime Minister


FROM: Dave
TO: Giddy
CC: The Cabinet (but not that Asian woman)

SUBJECT: The Fat Tax and the Pikey Tax

Dropped another gooly here haven't we Giddy? You told us that only fat, poor people who can't read and don't bother to vote bought lunch at that cheap bakery place. As soon as you sat down after the budget my mobile vibrated, yes Theresa it was my phone vibrating in my pocket, and my stockbroker texted me in a terrible rage. Apparently his office girls were in uproar at the thought of their sausage and bean melts being taxed.  Law of unintended consequences Giddy, drop the idea now.

The second text was from my accountant. His secretary ran in sceaming that she wanted a pay rise to cover the tax on caravans. It seems she takes something called a Bailey Champagne Pageant to the Dordogne every summer. I told you that was a dubious proposal didn't I? I told you that the caravan tax would hit more than pikies and Margaret Beckett didn't I? I also told you it wouldn't raise much money as pikies don't pay UK tax, they're all registered in Ireland I believe.

So, as my accountant and stockbroker count as 'the public', please announce that following 'public consultation' we have reviewed elements of your budget and are dropping your fat tax, and the pikey tax.

If you don't fancy facing the media can I suggest Ken is always good in front of the cameras, even if he is Secretary of State for Justice. And Ken, don't stab us in the back when you do the media stuff, we'll be watching.

Finally I would like you all to think of better ways to tax the lower and middle classes, preferably ways that we can claim are for their own good. At least one written idea to me from each of you by close of play on Friday please.



Baroness Warsi

The Tories politically correct mascot.
Is anybody really surprised that yet another politician is mired in accusations about expenses? To be honest the system is a sham in the first place.

Whenever I have held a position involving expenses claims I've had to produce receipts. If I didn't have a receipt I was given a reasonable opportunity to explain why, usually I'd lost it among all the other crap I gathered in my car. Why are our political leaders allowed to just claim allowances, such as a fee on top of salaries, just for turning up to do a day's work? It seems that she 'forgot' to declare rental income from a flat she owned in London and claimed in the region of £165.00 a night in accomodation expenses while staying in the spare room of a friend.

I've heard the usual pap on t'interweb from Tories defending her. It's funny how much they sound like the Labour politically correct brigade when one of their own is in the shit. I've actually heard her defended with the argument that it would be somehow wrong to hound out of office the country's top ethnic minority politician. What a deadheaded argument that is. It's almost as pathetic as the defence of David Laws on the grounds that being on the fiddle is OK if it's being done to hide your true sexuality. If guilty she should be out of public life, pronto.

Another Tory has questioned the motives of her accuser to make excuses for her. Who honestly cares what the motives of the Tory doctor are in accusing her? If she is guilty then end of story, throw the book at her. If somebody accuses another of murder because they have fallen out does the motive of the accuser lessen the offence of the accused? No it doesn't.

I've always seen Warsi as a Tory politically correct token with very little talent and, like the Coalition, nobody actually voted for her. What better a chairman for the current Tory Party than an ethnic minority woman with a northern working class background? All she's lacking is a disability. Oh yes, and ability.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Top Of The Pops May 1972-T.Rex: Metal Guru

It's hard to think this was top of the charts forty years ago, it seems like yesterday. A friend of mine spent the summer singing 'Metal Guru is a Jew'. I eventually told him he had got the words slightly wrong.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Today Is Pentecost Sunday

After Jesus had ascended to heaven from Mount Olivet, the apostles and disciples returned to the Holy City. They remained together in the Upper Room or Cenacle, the place where Jesus had appeared to them and which may well be called the first Christian church. About a hundred and twenty persons were assembled there. They chose Matthias as an apostle in place of the unhappy Judas; they prayed and waited for the Paraclete.

Ten days had passed, it was Sunday, the seventh Sunday after the resurrection. At about nine o'clock in the morning, as they were together praying fervently, the Holy Spirit descended upon them. Note how all the great theophanies in Christ's life occurred during the course of prayer. After His baptism, for instance, when Jesus was praying the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove; likewise, it was during prayer at night that the transfiguration took place on Tabor. Surely too it was while Mary was praying that Gabriel delivered his message, and the Holy Spirit overshadowed her.

Pentecost followed precedent. The small community of Christians had prepared themselves through prayer for the coming of the Paraclete. The same is true at Mass today, every day; through prayer we ready our souls for the advent of the Spirit.

The descent upon the apostles was internal and invisible in nature although accompanied by certain visible phenomena. There came a mighty roar, like the onrush of a violent wind. It came suddenly, from heaven; but unlike storms that strike a structure from without, this one penetrated and filled the room where the disciples were gathered. Therefore it was not a natural wind, it was a miracle peculiar to the occasion. A second visible sign consisted in tongues of fire that descended upon each one present. These fiery tongues gave visible evidence that the Holy Spirit had descended upon them.

Today at Mass, particularly at holy Communion, the power of the Holy Spirit will come down upon us; fiery tongues will not be seen, but invisible tongues of fire will not be absent. There was still another external manifestation of the Holy Spirit; the apostles and disciples were enabled to speak various languages.

After the roar of the wind many of Jerusalem's pilgrims hurried to the Cenacle. Pentecost was one of the three festivals which obliged all Jews to be present in Jerusalem. Jews from distant lands, and Jewish converts from paganism too, attended these feasts. As a result, a colorful crowd speaking a variety of languages surrounded the house. Now the apostles, who so shortly before had hid in fear behind locked doors, came forth and courageously walked among the multitude speaking to each in his native tongue. It was indeed amazing! Galileans, and multilingual?

But the malicious too were present; they had the answer. Nothing marvelous at all! Those Galileans were simply drunk, and their drunken babble sounded like a foreign language! Peter showed no hesitation in answering the charge. None of their number, he said, were intoxicated; it was but nine o'clock in the morning, and at that hour men usually are sober. What the multitude saw was, in fact, the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy: In those days (of the Messiah), God will pour forth His Spirit upon men and they will prophesy. . . . Then the apostle pointed his words more directly against the accusers: they had killed Jesus, had nailed Him to the Cross; but God had awakened Him and after His departure to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit.

The pilgrims who had heard Peter give this first pentecostal sermon "were pierced to the heart and said: Brethren, what shall we do? But Peter said to them: Repent and be baptized; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Three thousand responded.

One final question: why the miracle of tongues? In answer, recall the story regarding the tower of Babel. Puffed up by pride, men attempted to build a tower that would touch the heavens. To punish their sin, God confused their speech. Sin causes confusion and division. Now Christ came to gather all men into His Church and thereby to unite them to Himself. This should result in creating but one family of nations again. To this blessed state the miracle of tongues points.

Yes, even we as individuals have a gift of tongues which all men can understand. It is the gift of love infused into us by the Holy Spirit. Love unites, love is a common language, by means of love we can speak to all nations.

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rupert Murdoch-The Leveson Enquiry

I saw a bit more of the Leveson charade yesterday. What an expensive, pretentious sham. I could have saved the country a small fortune by giving the verdict weeks ago. I say 'we' because as ever it is us, the taxpayer, who will pick up the tab for the weeks of posing and posturing that is the Leveson Enquiry. Here is the verdict:

Rupert Murdoch is a very successful, influential and wealthy man.

Rupert Murdoch became successful, influential and wealthy by giving people something they want to buy.

If you have Sky TV, buy the Times, the Sun or another Murdoch product, then you made Rupert Murdoch successful, wealthy and influential.

Rupert Murdoch, like the rest of us, wants to influence government, which is why we write to our MPs, lobby our MPs, join political parties and so on. That's why companies hire lobbyists to try and influence government.

Politicians are, on the whole, vain, ambitious and morally dubious. They are more likely to be influencced when flattered and pampered, especially by the successful, wealthy and, influential than they are by the likes of you and I.

All governments in recent years, of whichever shade, have courted and grovelled to Rupert Murdoch because he is influential.

So blame the politicians, not Rupert Murdoch. He's just been doing what most of us in his position would do.

Let the criminal justice system deal with the phone hacking cases.

There you have it in ten minutes and a darn sight less than the multi-million pound cost of Leveson.

By the way, that inquisitor in the Leveson Enquiry who looks like Elvis Costello's twin brother gets right on my tits.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hypocrisy In Football

The Professional Footballers' Association have announced their wish to have racist players sacked. The PFA is a trade union, albeit a trade union that represents a lot of extremely wealthy 'workers'.

What I don't understand is what constitutes racism these days. In the heat of battle does calling a player a black/white bastard, or similar, constitute racism? In my view that's juvenile name calling and the player should be told to grow up and stop being a prat by his manager and teammates.

A player declaring his intention to injure another player because of his race is a serious issue, as it would be if a club declared it's intention not to sign players of a particular race. But as far as I'm aware there have been no cases of these types of racism in recent years, certainly not in England.

A football player is soon to be released from chokey after serving around half his sentence for killing two children while twice over the drink drive limit. He will be going straight to a new club that he has been training with on his day release in preparation for permanent release.

In 2004, another professional footballer was found guilty of causing the death by dangerous driving of a pedestrian and leaving the scene of the accident. He walked straight from chokey into a contract with another professional football club.

If you would like to see a list of professional sportsmen and the crimes they have committed then click on this link. There is the whole range of crimes listed from credit card fraud to murder. You will find on that list serial offenders who have committed pretty unpleasant crimes, but served their time and gone straight back into professional football.

It's interesting that the PFA don't seem to be so strident about their members who kill people, attack their wives/girlfriends or persistently drink and drive.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Spain And Gibraltar

It seems there were 'skirmishes' last night off Gibraltar involving the Spanish Guardia Civil and the Royal Gibraltar Police, with a Roayl Navy vessel standing by just in case.The dispute was over Spanish fishermen trying to cast their nets off The Rock.

So in the Falkland Islands in 1982 it was a scrap metal merchant that was used by the Argentinians to start the war, the Spanish are now winding us up with their fishermen. They've got our fishing waters, thanks to the European Union, now they're after Gib!

What is it about these countries that they cannot accept that the people of Gibraltar, just like the people of the Falklands, should have the right to decide their own futures? It's not down to the United Kingdom government and certainly not the Spanish or Argentinian governments to decide. I'm sure it has nothing to do with Spain and Argentina being miltary dictatorships until relatively recently and more to do with their governments trying to deflect attention from their ecomnnomic shambles.

The Spanish really need to remember Ceuta.

Smoking At The Cricket

Cricket is a very civilised game to watch, even when playing Yorkshire. Yesterday I spent the day at Liverpool watching Lancashire play Middlesex. Glorious weather and, after a shaky start, a good batting day for Lancashire. I got chatting to the chap next to me, we then got chatting to the three people in front of us. It's very sociable watching cricket and with games lasting up to four days, from 11-00am to 6-00pm, great friendships can be forged among the spectators.

During the afternoon the chap next to me set off to stretch his legs, it was just coming near to the resumption of play after the tea break. About ten minutes later he came back to the seats carrying five ice creams, one for each of us. Once again I was subject to an act of kindness from a stranger as I had been last week, which I blogged about here. I still don't know the name of my friend the ice cream man, or the other people I spent the day with, but to me the whole day  encapsulated the spirit of cricket.

But then up pops Sky to bring us back to reality. Lord's, the headquarters of cricket, has a very civilised policy which allows smoking in ten percent of the seats. A wonderful policy which treats people like grown ups, if you don't smoke don't go in the smoking areas. Much more civilised than the infantilising and oppressive smoking ban.

But a Sky cameraman  has complained that he copped a whiff of smoke while filming a cricket game. What a great big softy. He should have been taken off the cricket and stuck in a poxy, windowless TV studio filming some bizarre freak show that passes for a television programmee on Sky. Instead Sky has asked the MCC to reconsider the smoking areas at Lord's.

Here comes the next, more sinister part of this situation. Sky pays £100m into cricket each year, and he who pays the piper calls the tune. How long before the MCC tries to bribe its members into voting for a complete smoking ban for fear of losing the Sky money?

One of the reasons I gave up my season ticket for Manchester United in 2005, apart from the Glazers, was that television money had corrupted the game. I only hope that in this relatively small matter the MCC sticks two fingers up at Sky and respects the wishes of its members. Don't sell the soul of cricket the way the soul of football has been sold.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

TV, The Modern Freak Show

I'm not one of those people who thinks television is evil and satanic, I do watch TV. But I don't subscribe to Sky because Freeview gives you enough channels full of pap without paying for even more channels full of pap.

I love sport but prefer to watch it live and therefore spend a long time away from my beloved watching football, cricket and, whenever I can, ice hockey. So to sit watching sport at home on TV would be a little too much for her to accept, which I fully appreciate, so don't have any sports channels.

But I am increasingly disconcerted at the amount of seriously weird stuff on TV. I thought that was what the internet had been invented for.

It started with the soaps and their little announcements at the end of an episode that if you have been affected by the storyline here's a telephone number for The Samaritans or whoever. Do the TV companies not think that if a storyline leads to people needing a helpline then perhaps it should not be aired in the first place? Having said that maybe there are a lot of feeble people in the country and it's not the fault of the TV companies at all, I don't know. I do know that Corrie has yet to make me run out of the room screaming for help, maybe I'm just not very sensitive.

But then there are the seriously sick TV programmes themselves. I saw one series advertised recently that was all about ugly people trying to get dates. I don't mean people who were just a little plain or perhaps not 'your type', but people who were seriously deformed verging on grotesque. Tonight there is a programme on about women who are seriously fat and pander to the fetishes of some seriously weird men. When I say 'fat' I don't mean a bit chunky, I mean rolls of fat hanging down to their knees.

Bloody hell, this is 2012. If people were to read about these freaks being paraded through the streets in the middle ages, or the nineteenth century for entertainment they'd tut tut and thank God we are now so much more civilised. Except that would be hypocritical as we now don't even have to go to the village square, the freak shows are piped straight into our own lounges. Are we really as civilised as we like to think we are? I don't fall for this bull about it being educational, it's not, it's pure voyeurism of the worst sort.

And don't even get me started on that sickest of all TV freak shows, the televising of Parliament.

Nick Clegg, Probably The World's Most Patronising Politician

I'm pretty annoyed after listening to that patronising pillock who is masquerading, for the time being, as deputy prime minister. His meaningless soundbites are just that, meaningless. I think it's probably the smug, patronising way he delivers the soundbites that really gets on my tits!

In his rage against his perception of Victorian style social division and class conflict he states:

"'s just not right that if you go into an average classroom, one in five children will be on free school meals. Go into an Oxford or Cambridge lecture theatre and only one in 100 will [have been] on free school meals."
So what are you saying Nicky? That being on free school meals should give you access to Cambridge or Oxford University? No, you're just coming out with patronising platitudes.

He also said:

"..universities need to look behind the grades an applicant has on their CV and look at the potential a youngster has to thrive at university".
When I went to college I had to attend for interview before being made an offer. Doesn't that happen any more? Or again, does Clegg think a dummy with poor grades on free meals should get an unfair advantage over the bank manager's son who gets excellent grades?

The problem, Clegg, is that social engineering wrecked our education system. Under the old grammar school system kids got to grammar schools on merit, which is why you saw kids with unemployed parents sat next to kids whose parents were very wealthy.

When they imposed the comprehensive system on people, in the search for equality, they immediately destroyed equality. The kids on the rough estates went straight to schools full of other kids off the rough estates. Parents with ambitions for their kids had to move to 'better areas' to access the better schools. Sadly, as with most things, when the state intervenes it often has the opposite effect to that intended.

There will always be winners and losers. There will always be people who are academic and those who are not. There will always be people who achieve, and those who don't. Clegg needs to get out a bit more and see the real world and he will realise that we are no longer living in the 1890s. Leave people alone and they will get on with life, some will be successful some will not. More state interference can only make things worse.

Bread, Circuses And The London Olympics 2012

The Olympc Ideal?
There was a fuss in the media yesterday about people who have been carrying the Olympc torches through the UK putting them on eBay before they've even taken their trainers off and stopped sweating. There was the usual moral outrage with the granny of a sick child who hadn't carried the torch claiminmg it was terribly disrespectful to the sick child.

Another man from Lincolnshire phoned Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2 to boast how he had phoned the Olympic authorities to formally complain about this wicked, immoral practice. I had to giggle at the thought of some vulgar Olympic official, dripping in gold and Rolex, whizzing through London in a chauffeur driven limo (maybe a Zil) indulgently tut tutting at the gripes of Mr Lincolnshire as he heads to Heathrow to fly in a private jet to a pre-Olympic junket in Monaco or some banana republic in Africa.

We have heard for months the speculation about whether this, that or the other footballer will make the Great Britain Olympic squad. Nobody questions the morality of footballers earning £100,000 a week or more representing us in the Olympics. But an unemployed joiner from Exeter flogs his torch, which he'd probably paid £200 for in the first place by the way, for a few hundred quid and their is public outrage.

What outraged me was that millions and millions has been wasted on wining and dining (aka bribing) the wealthy and powerful to get this immoral circus to this country, then the tight bastards make the torch bearers pay for £200 their torches. I don't blame them for flogging them. What outraged me was hearing that an East London cafe had been ordered to change its name from 'Olympic' because of sponsorship deals, and the authorities made them do it. The whole vulgar mess outrages me to be honest.

If we had any doubts that our civilisation is in terminal decline the Olympics are the finest visible evidence. How apt that they were bought for this country by a New Labour government, but are taking place under an equally immoral social democratic coalition government.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

New York, New York

As my beloved has an overwhelming fear of flying, and I don't want to be subjected to oppressive and humiliating 'anti-terror' checks, it is unlikely I will ever visit the USA again sadly. So I will have to be satisfied with film and music. Here are two of my favourite songs:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bibles In Schools Cause War!

No, I've not gone off my rocker, the heading of this post was a statement made by a contributor to a BBC radio phone-in yesterday about the placing of bibles in schools. I was shocked to hear this as, when I did my History degree, not a single one of my lecturers told me that Hitler had actually invaded Poland to place bibles in classrooms. Nor that the Koreans were actually fighting each other in the fifties, and the Vietnamese in the sixties, about whether to place bibles in schools or not. Just goes to show.

Radio phone-ins, scarier than watching Jeremy Kyle!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers?

On Tuesday I went to the cash machine in Carnforth. I had a lot of things on my mind and was admittedly a little distracted. I left the cash machine and dashed off on my next errand. Then I left to do my next errand and it was then that I realised I had taken my card from the cash machine but left the cash. What a plonker!

There was a huge queue inside the bank and I had an urgent appointment to get to so dashed off thinking I could kiss the money goodbye. When I got home I rang the bank and, after a lot of mithering on a complex 'press this option blah blah blah' system (35 minutes actually), I eventually got through to a very helpful person in their Carnforth branch. They explained the procedure for these situations and I left them my number.

Yesterday morning I got a phone call from the bank telling me that my cash had been handed in and I could call into the branch and collect it.

It's easy to become cynical about people, and the world in which we live, but that little episode has really helped to restore my faith in human nature. A great big thank you to the honest person who handed in my cash and, assuming he/she doesn't read this blog, a note of thanks is on its way via the bank who have promised to forward it for me.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

2012 Olympics and the Police State

 Last week I went to non-league football game with 2000 spectators in attendance. The ground was swamped with police, police vans patrolling nearby streets, a police video van touring around and police on horseback. There was also an excessive number of highly provocative stewards.The following is taken from the BBC news website:

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed a device which can be used as a "sonic weapon" will be deployed in London during the Olympics.

The American-made Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) can be used to send verbal warnings over a long distance or emit a beam of pain-inducing tones.

The equipment was spotted fixed to a landing craft on the Thames at Westminster this week.

An MoD spokesman said it would be used "primarily in the loud hailer mode".

Royal Marines operating in patrol craft from HMS Ocean are also heavily armed with conventional firearms.

The piercing beam of sound emitted by the device is highly directional. Some versions of the LRAD are capable of producing deafening sound levels of 150 decibels at one metre.

But the device, which was used this week during Exercise Olympic Guardian, can also be used to broadcast verbal warnings, such as ordering crowds to disperse.

The San Diego-based LRAD Corporation has previously sold the device to the US Army, which deployed them in Iraq for crowd control.

They have also been bought by the US Navy and Air Force as well as a number of police forces worldwide.

It has been successfully used aboard ships to repel Somali pirates.

The panel-shaped LRAD is mounted onto steerable gimbals and said to be far more efficient than a normal loudspeaker.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "As part of the military contribution to the police led security effort to ensure a safe and secure games, a broad range of assets and equipment is being used by our armed forces".

"This includes the LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) which will be deployed during the Olympic Games primarily to be used in the loud hailer mode as part of the measures to achieve a maritime stop on the Thames."

It seems to me that the state is using sport to sharpen up its means of oppressing the populace. And to be quite frank, if the Olympic Games are such a huge threat to the life of people in this country that this types of measure, as well as putting weapons on top of blocks of flats is needed, then it is just one more reason why we shouldn't be having them here. The other major reason being the immoral cost when we are supposedly in a financial mess.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ed Miliband and Margaret Thatcher

We all know Miliband Jr is a prat but today he has excelled. On the train back to London from Essex, maybe mummy and daddy took him to Southend to make some sandcastles, he apparently said of the government:

"After two years of government people start to think: 'You can't blame the last government any more.' "

Funny that as his party, and whining socialists generally, still blame Margaret Thatcher for anything from the drought to having the trots. Mummy must have given him too much blancmange.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Steel Pulse-Steppin' Out

It's a grotty day and I'm steppin' out for some exercise. Geddit? Thought a bit of reggae might liven things up and who better than Steel Pulse? This also could be dedicated to the greedy public sector workers, also 'steppin' out' today, because they want me to pay even more money into their pension funds for them. Well, you pay some into my pension fund and I might have some sympathy!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Apathy And The Right To Vote

Our politicians have become so bland, uninspiring, sometimes corrupt, often disingenuous that they are driving people away from involvement in politics. In millions of cases they are driving people to abstain from voting.

We didn't have local elections last week, but all the friends and family I've spoken to who did have elections live in Manchester, and they didn't vote because they didn't have a candidate or a party standing for election that they trusted. In Manchester city centre ward turnout was just 13 per cent. Manchester as a whole had a turnout of 26 per cent, Salford 27 per cent.

In 35 of the 215 wards across the Greater Manchester councils fewer than one in four people bothered to vote and in 134 wards the turnout was under 33 per cent. Only three wards registered a turnout of over 50 per cent, and they were all neighbouring wards in Oldham. The highest average turnout was in Trafford with 37 per cent.

Yesterday I heard somebody attacking those people who didn't vote, using the hackneyed old argument that people died in wars for our right to vote. No they didn't. I doubt many soldiers have marched into war thinking they were doing it so that those who survive them can vote. Many may have gone into battle to defend democracy, our way of life, our territory or simply because their government told them to, but not so that I could vote for Fred Smith in my local council elections.

The right to abstain is as much a part of democracy as the right to vote. I have no wish to vote Conservative, Tory or Lib Dem. Is it really democratic to force me to hold my nose in an election and vote for a party I don't believe in when there are no credible candidates?

Unless I have a candidate or party I can trust I will also be abstaining in future. It seems to me that one of the greatest contradictions in a so-called democracy is compulsory voting. Compulsory voting is the only way rotten politicians can give themselves a veneer of democracy.

Watch out, they're looking at tax-payer funding of political parties because we don't want to financially support them on a voluntary basis. Compulsory voting will be next.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Stewards In High Vis Jackets

What is it about high vis jackets that turns the wearer into a raging jobsworth at best, a raging fascist at worst?

Maybe it's because too many sporting organisations now use security companies rather than employing their own friendly people.

I've been to two sporting events in the last few days and the presence of stewards is increasingly over the top and often highly provocative. All too often they seem to be seeking confrontation.

The absolutely worst seem to be those that have trite messages on their backs such as: "Here to help". Bollocks they are! They should have on their backs: "Here to mither and provoke people until they get pissed off, then I can throw them out".

Feel better for that.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Local Elections 2012

A strange few days, especially as here in North Lancashire we didn't have any elections despite having more than enough elected representatives. We have town councillors, borough councillors, county councillors then MPs and MEPs. But I still stayed up far too late on Thursday night watching the results come in. I'm not going to ramble on too long here, there is more than enough coverage in the media, but I'm bound to chip in my two penneth.

UKIP bombed again. I begin with them as I know them best having stood in three parliamentary elections for them, numerous locals and a European election. Although they gained a reasonable percentage of protest votes in places, they just cannot convert that into seats, and their London mayoral candidate couldn't even muster 2% of the vote. They got no seats in the London Assembly.

Elsewhere I heard Farage, more of a problem for UKIP than he is an asset, claiming they didn't win seats because their support is not concentrated enough. More bullshit from the bullshitter-in-chief. They don't win seats because they have no coherent local or national policies other than getting out of the EU. It's like a form of Tourette's, UKIP candidates can't fight in a local election without blurting out Brussels, the European Union or that certain vote loser the 'EUSSR', which does set most ordinary people's nutter alert off. Even the dimmest voter knows a local councillor can do bugger all about Brussels.

Where UKIP, or any other party does well locally, is where they fight hard and long, not just popping a leaflet through the doors at election time. UKIP rarely do that although they have had some success, for example in Staffordshire Moorlands, where they did campaign hard and long on local issues. With the resources they should have at their disposal, one of their main reasons initially for taking their MEP seats, they should be running highly effective campaigns. But their MEPs have gone native, another huge problem.

The other problem for UKIP is that they claim to be a libertarian party but aren't. If most of their members looked at what libertarianism actually is they would be horrified. Of course to many people today libertarianism is a nice flag of convenience, that is the case with UKIP. Apart from the EU the membership would split down the middle on any other serious issue. That's why it is, and will remain, a single issue party.

Miliband needn't get too carried away, Labour did well despite him not because of him. Labour would be in terminal trouble if they hadn't done as well as they did on Thursday. It doesn't mean they can win a general election, otherwise they would have sent the Tories into terminal decline which, despite good results, they didn't. Deep down people know that the bankers were a contributory factor to a Labour economic mess, they aren't stupid enough to fall for Labour blaming it all on the bankers.

Despite tying Clegg up, gagging him and sticking him in the cupboard under the stairs for a fortnight the Lib Dems got bombed. Ironic as most parties look to emulate the kind of local campaigning the Lib Dems have always excelled at. But they've paid the price for selling out. Can't say I'm sorry. They may have been the best local campaigners over the years but they have lacked fundamental honesty at a local level, often prepared to sell their grannies for a few more votes.

It's the price the Lib Dems are paying for actually getting involved in power instead of just sitting in the House of Commons griping and whingeing. For years the Lib Dems have been all things to all men, but now they are in government and can no longer hide. What people are finding out is that they are a party of misfits, with the likes of Vince Cable, Chris Huhne and David Laws showing them in their true colours in the national spotlight.

So to the Tories. I liken them to the Church of England. They liberalise and lose support. So they liberalise a bit more, and lose a but more support and so on. Cameron couldn't win a general election when Gordon Brown was Prime Minister, I doubt he could win one even with Miliband leading the Labour Party.

Cameron has a huge problem, he doesn't seem to actually believe in anything. He seems to be a chief executive reacting to circumstances, whereas we really need a captain who can actually set a course and fight his way through the storms and the choppy seas to get us to our destination. He seems to have the kind of faith in Osborne that Blair had in Brown, and look what a shambles Brown made of the finances. He has no real vision, just woolly waffle about 'big society' and.... Oops, can't think of anything else.

The Tories need to start listening to real people, including their real members, rather than the media luvvies and metroplitan elite they seem to be obsessed with. I've lobbied enough Tory conferences in recent years to know that their members, on the whole, don't like Cameron's policies but see him as the best of a bad bunch, their equivalent of Tony Blair. At least they're back in Downing Street so they are holding their noses at the moment. When their best hope for winning the next election is that Miliband remains Labour leader you know they aren't confident in their own leader.

So what the Tories need to do now is to learn from Thursday and toughen up. Yes they got a mid-term thumping, but they can avoid a general election thumping next time around by reconnecting with the traditional conservative support that has turned its back on them in the past two decades. But that leads to the next problem. The Tories aren't overly blessed with potential leaders are they?

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Happy as a Pig in Muck

I've had two weeks of absolute mither, but just received some fantastic news. The hassle has been worth it, but more of that anon.

Me and my dad have also got our tickets for the play-off final, FC United against Bradford Park Avenue on Sunday. Also I'll be joining him and some friends for a day of cricket and a fundraising lunch at Old Trafford tomorrow. So at the moment I'm as happy as a pig in muck.

I've put this clip on here before but it is from probably the finest concert I ever attended and felt like popping it up again. Seems five minutes ago since Mrs B and yours truly were part of this happy throng at Old Trafford, but it was actually 2004. By the way Morrissey, you were talking crap about the Falkland Islands. It's up to the Falkland Islanders to decide their future, not the UK and certainly not Argentina. Stick to music.

FC United of Manchester-A Statement

The board of FC United have now issued a full statement to fans about the fiasco caused this week by West Yorkshire Police and Bradford City Council. I will add my two penneth in after the statement:

Board member Alan Hargrave attended a meeting in Bradford on Monday afternoon on behalf of FC United. Initially we were not invited to this meeting but a post Chorley 2011 edict from the league requires both clubs to be in attendance when match arrangements are being discussed.

This allows us, as we always do, to make representations on behalf of our supporters at an early stage but does not in any way give us control over decisions, which remain the privilege of the home team. Also present at the meeting were representatives of:

BPA - Safety Officer
Bradford City Council Licensing
West Yorkshire Police
League Management

The following key points were raised at this initial meeting:

The police would be busy on Saturday with a number of events in the town including the Bradford City game. However they were happy for the game to kick off at 3pm on Saturday.

The local authority licensing rep expressed a number of concerns having attended previous fixtures between Bradford and FCUM. Firstly that she had witnessed fans entering the running track area from the seating area during the games. Secondly she was concerned that the aisles in the seating areas were blocked and stewards had been unable to enter the seating area to remove lit flares and smoke bombs. She also noted that despite appeals from FCUM the use of smoke bombs and flares had again taken place at the recent semi final. As a consequence she initially wanted to set a capacity for the final at 1200.

AH questioned how a ground with a safety certificate capacity of over 3000 be limited to 1200 and the response was that it was dependent on the event.

The league expressed concern about what they termed ‘the continuing use of fireworks’ at FCUM games but stated that our fans are not a major concern to them.

The licensing officer from the local authority then suggested that if the concerns she had raised could not be addressed she would consider requesting the game be played behind closed doors. AH asked the league if she had the power to do this and they confirmed the local authority had the power to do so.

After much further discussion AH suggested that they limit the capacity of the seating area but allow free flow in the rest of the ground, repeatedly and correctly pointing out that there had never been any trouble between the fans in the past. They agreed therefore to not have segregation. After further lengthy debate it was decided that the original capacity of 1200 be lifted to a figure of 2000. The tickets would be split 50/50 with 1000 going to FCUM. These would contain 500 tickets for the seating area and 500 for the rest of the ground. FCUM would also have to provide some stewards for the seating area.

Changing kick off times or the day of the kick off was also debated but following strong representations from AH and with the backing of the police and the league it was agreed to keep the kick off as 3pm on Saturday 5th May.

We therefore left the meeting dissatisfied and frustrated but sure we had done our best in representing our supporters. The outcome had been far from ideal and fell a good bit short of what we had hoped for, but given we ultimately have little say in the final decision we were confident we had made some gains as a result of our input.

On Wednesday 2nd May 2012, we were informed it had been decided that the fixture could no longer proceed on Saturday at 3pm. An emergency meeting was called and Andy Walsh made the dash across to Bradford to attend on behalf of FC United. Also in attendance were:

West Yorkshire Police
Bradford City Council Licensing

At this second meeting the police commander reported that all available policing resources would be employed around the Bradford City game against Swindon Town. At a meeting of the Safety Advisory Group (SAG) that morning she had advised that there were insufficient police resources available to cover any incident that may arise from the Play Off Final at BPA. When asked why this was not conveyed at the Monday meeting the meeting was informed that intelligence around the BCFC game had changed. The SAG were unwilling to allow the Play Off Final to go ahead without cover available from the police.

Both BPA and FC United argued that due to the safety record of the previous games between both clubs at the Horsfall stadium that the game should be allowed to go ahead at 3pm on Saturday that arrangements were now in place and that fans will have already booked transport and made arrangements to get to the game.

The case was made very clearly by both BPA and FC United that no trouble had occurred at a BPA vs FCUM game previously and that the game should still be able to go ahead at 3pm on Saturday. The safety officer and BPA raised the same concerns that had been aired at the previous meeting. All efforts to get our allocation of tickets and the capacity increased were rejected.

The possibility of an early morning kick off on Saturday or Sunday was raised, FC United objected to both suggestions due to the inconvenience this would cause to fans and players. A Monday game was opposed by the police due to a lack of available resources.

We further argued that an alternative, neutral venue should be sought, but we were advised that none were available.

We were advised that additional stewards are to be deployed around the ground to stop fans climbing over the fence to gain entry. The point was made that if these stewards were deployed inside the ground then a better crowd management procedure could be established which should allow a larger number of tickets, this argument was rejected.

Ultimately, given the limited choices available to us, reluctant agreement was reached on a kick off at 2pm on Sunday 6th May with our objections noted.

The meeting ended and FC United reiterated that concerns about crowd management would be greatly eased if an additional allocation of tickets were made available to FC United.

At 8:21 on Wednesday 2nd May the Bradford Telegraph and Argus carried the following quote from BPA Director Kevin Hainsworth:

“Within half an hour of us putting our tickets on sale for what we thought was a Saturday game, we were informed that the authorities wouldn’t allow it to go ahead on that day.

“They had gathered information from various FC United fans’ forums and decided there was a risk of trouble. They contacted Bradford Council (owners of the stadium), and it doesn’t matter who is providing the stewarding or who holds the safety certificate for the ground when it come to matters like this so it was off from then"

This was not the reason given to the meeting by West Yorkshire Police.

Indeed we specifically asked what intelligence the decision was based on and were told that the reason for the game being moved is because of issues connected with the Bradford City game.

We do not know why Kevin Hainsworth has chosen to make such a statement at this time but, if an accurate quote, is wholly misleading.

It is the Board’s view that the whole chain of events this week has been unnecessary; that a kick off time at 3pm on Saturday could have been maintained; that a larger allocation of tickets could have been provided and safely managed; that our supporters have been considerably and unnecessarily inconvenienced and that it has put an incredible burden on our hard working staff and volunteers.

The question of whether to accept an allocation of tickets has been considered, but following a resolution submitted to the last AGM there was, despite it not being formally adopted, a clear majority in favour of allowing supporters to choose whether to attend a game and therefore the Board are happy to support this wish. We acknowledge that the wording of the resolution still allows for the Board to make a recommendation on whether to attend, but given the undoubted wish amongst the membership to be allowed the freedom to choose, feel it more pertinent to provide supporters with the facts, allow them to draw their own conclusions and individually decide for themselves whether to attend. Until given direction to the contrary, that will remain Board policy.

To those supporters who intend to go to the game, we know that you’ll get behind the team. To those that choose not to, we understand and share your frustration and only wish such a scenario could have been avoided.

The Board of FC United of Manchester
People waiting for ticket sales to commence at Bradford's ground yesterday were told, around 12-30, by a club official that they were about to start selling tickets but that fans should be aware that the police, acting on intelligence, were trying to move the game to Monday. The Bradford City Council safety officer also left the ground around that time, brusquely refusing to answer questions from fans as she left.

There has never been trouble at FC v Bradford games despite big crowds in some important games. Yes, some FC fans light flares and have repeatedly been asked by the club, and fellow supporters to stop. But is that grounds for denying 1000 fans from Bradford and Manchester the right  game for our clubs?

If the authorities cut the capacity from 3,500 to 2,000 they immediately create a safety and security problem. There is no segregation this week but last week segregation broke down in the semi-final because an unrealistic limit on tickets, arbitrarily set by the authorities, meant that several hundred of us bought tickets for the home section. There was still no trouble, as there rarely has been at FC United games, but still the authorities do not learn.

In the case of Bradford Park Avenue there are many vantage points outside the ground giving a view of the pitch. At last year's final there was a hill outside the Colwyn Bay ground that was occupied by ticketless FC United fans and others. There was a little disorder admittedly, but there was room in the ground for all those on the hill. If the authorities hadn't been so stupid by reducing the capacity those fans could have been safely inside the ground wher there was adequate crowd control.

If I lived in Bradford I would be asking why West Yorkshire Police are incapable of dealing with two football games, on opposite sides of the city, one limited to 2,000 people the other likely to attract no more than 12,000 people.  In 1954 102,569 attended a rugby league game at Odsal Stadium in Bradford. My word, how incompetent the modern police must be if they can't cope with 15,000 fans.

Finally. For a sense of perspective on flares I have never seen more than a couple held aloft at the same time at FC United games. While I don't excuse their use the following footage may put the issue in perspective:

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

West Yorkshire Police State

West Yorkshire's Chief Constable
In my post below (yesterday) I outlined the authorities' complete disregard for the public in the organisation of a football game, so I won't bore you with all the details again. This post is an update, it got a whole lot worse.

On Monday a meeting of club officials took place with the local council and the West Yorkshire Police. The council, treating the public with the usual disdain, slashed the ground capacity from 3,500 to 2000. That was a stupid move on safety grounds because if you reduce tickets to a well supported club then fans look elsewhere for tickets if their allocation is too small. Commonsense that seems not to exist on Bradford Council.

So today I went to get a ticket from Bradford worrying that I might not get a ticket from my own club's allocation, FC United of Manchester. There is a good relationship between our fans and Bradford's so I knew there would be no problem, and I certainly wouldn't put my 80 year old dad, who comes to games with me, in any danger. Nor is he a danger to people I must add!

I joined the queue but tickets hadn't gone on sale at 12-00 as announced. At 12-50 an official came out and informed those of us waiting that the police were trying to move the match to Monday rather than this Saturday. I got chatting to other fans in the queue and the consensus was that as Bradford City are also at home on Saturday, the police couldn't deal with both games. Bullshit!

Our game is restricted to 2000 spectators, Bradford City will be lucky to get much over 10,000. The clubs must be a good three miles apart. Bradford has a population of around 290,000. If the police cannot deal with two football games, attended by less than 15,000 people, in a city that size then the police force is quite obviously not fit for purpose. If I lived in Bradford I would get out now because it is obviously not a safe place to live.

Well here is the big news. The West Yorkshire Police have had the game moved from this Saturday to Sunday at 2-00pm. The West Yorkshire Police are so crap they cannot police two games with less than 15,000 people attending. That, or they are just fascistic and enjoy throwing their weight around and pissing people off.

If you think the authorities in this country, be that the local council or the police, work in your interests then get real, they don't. How long until people say enough and fight back?

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Nanny State-Bollocks To Authority

Home of Bradford Park Avenue
I have a problem and am angry. The older I get the more the powers that be in this country seem to just want to piss us off and treat us like shit. To those who don't like football this may seem small if not irrelevant, but in my view it sums up the stifling bureaucratic nature of modern life.

On Saturday FC United of Manchester play Bradford Park Avenue at Bradford's Horsfall Stadium in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League play-off final. Promotion would mean moving into the Conference North.

Last Saturday FC United beat Chorley in their semi-final in front of a crowd of 2,700. Bradford beat Hednesford in front of 600 people. According to this entry in Wikipedia Bradford's ground holds 3,500 people. Last season FC United were in the semi-final of the play-offs at Bradford. Over 2,700 of us were there.

Yesterday Bradford, and FC United's officials met with the local police and 'local authority safety officials' to discuss arrangements for the game. Yes, for a bloody non-league game! On the 'advice of the safety authorities' the game will be limited to 2,000 people.

So in a ground that holds 3,500, with around 1800 seated, for a game that last season drew a 2,700 crowd, with not a hint of trouble as there never has been when these two clubs meet, the 'safety authorities' have limited the crowd to 2,000. Both clubs will get an allocation of 1,000.

I would say that FC United could sell around 2,000 tickets and Bradford probably 1,000. Still under the 3,500 stated capacity. Having visited that ground on three occasions I know that 3,000 could be comfortably accomodated, remember there were over 2,700 of us there last season, no problem

All the 'local safety authorities' have done is remove the opportunity for over 1000 people to enjoy a football game. They have also deprived the players from both clubs, all part-time, the chance to play in front of a big crowd creating a wonderful atmosphere on what should be a wonderful day for all. They have also created the danger of 1,000 people potentially turning up without tickets trying to gain admittance to the game.

Now tell me the authorities in this country work on our behalf.