Wednesday, May 30, 2007
I am now pleased to report, ladies and gentlemen, that I arrived home today, a mere 10 weeks on, to find my recycling box. It seems that our council has developed the knack of stretching time-scales as well as the truth. I'd honestly assumed that we'd been forgotten about and was preparing to endure the council switchboard after my exams. I'm quite thankful that I don't have to call them now, and even more so that I don't pay tax. If it takes so long just to deal with a simple, and routine, request for a recycling box imagine how much is wasted on faffing around* elsewhere.
*and believe me, I know about faffing around.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Down-Under, things are evidently a little bit different.
"The Victorian state civil and administrative tribunal ruled the Peel Hotel could ban patrons based on their sexual orientation."
So, where are the Human Rights and Civil Liberties folk, who should be decrying such an outrageous ruling? Not out protesting, because they "welcome the decision".
Now if you read the whole article, it is apparent that there has evidently been some trouble and this should be prevented. But to attempt to solve the problem by banning heterosexuals just defies belief. It's 'bigoted' and 'intolerant', you might say and as a heterosexual man I feel that there is a grossly unfair stereotype being upheld. We've all heard the arguments which begin "being gay doesn't mean that..." and so in the same vein I should point out that being straight doesn't mean that I will behave abusively (towards anyone) in a pub.
The issue of whether or not it is right to ban someone based on sexual orientation is (or should be the same) whether that orientation is straight or otherwise. The fact that Civil Liberties groups (and others) are not opposing, but even supporting this ruling screams hypocrisy and as ever makes a mockery of the supposed 'liberty' and 'tolerance' they like to think they stand for.
I think I will end by considering this:
"Civil liberties groups said homosexuals should be allowed to relax in places without fear of bullying or intimidation."
Fine. And Catholics should be allowed to make choices about adoption which fit in with their beliefs and religious conscience without fear of bullying or intimidation.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Defined by user
Friday, May 25, 2007
(Attributed to Charlie Brooker, in The Guardian).
Here is one of many reasons why I am not a fan of the Guardian. It likes to portray an air of intelligence, but in all honesty you could probably find more reasoned and mature debate than the above in the Daily Sport. And the Daily Sport would be more entertaining to read.
I'm sure that Mr Brooker believes that he is open-minded and tolerant (and far more so than those nasty Tories could ever be), and so it's quite ironic that the above quotation is anything but. Now, whereas I can understand that the article was probably slightly tongue-in-cheek I don't like the underlying sentiment. Especially given that if 'Tory Species' were replaced by anything else, Mr Brooker and his contemparies would be the first to be outraged, whether the sentiment was meant to be tongue-in-cheek and humorous or not.
I really don't like the feeling of (misguided) superiority which is often apparent in The Guardian. It's the same misguided superiority demonstrated by those who think that the answers to the world's problems are simple and beligerently wave placards until the rest of us have seen the light. It's the same misguided superiority demonstrated by those who feel the need to take responsibility for what we might hear and what opinions we might form by restricting freedom of speech.
I've ranted before about how the popular 'tolerance' and open-mindedness in today's society often follows the Henry Ford model of "you can have any view you like, so long as it's mine" and I long for the day when people see enough sense to get over their predjudices** and are open minded enough to consider properly other views. I'm not perfect, but - for example - I do tend to actually read much of the pre-election material from every party before I make a decision.***
*Your call as to whether I'm referring to the esteemed Mr Brooker, or just lacking confidence in my writing today.
**Again, if it wasn't the Tories, to be so predjudiced would be unacceptable and outrageous. Also, such predjudices are based on images of the party almost 20 years ago. Move on, people!
***Oooh, big deal! OK, so it's a small point, but it is one way in which I do try and make sure I know the facts before I judge others on their views.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Originally uploaded by JP1984.
Call me juvenile, but I couldn't resist obtaining a photograph of this house-name. Can you imagine living there and having to verify your address over the phone to an insurance salesman or the like?
I am also pleased to have been able to cull my Blacklist. Whereas HSBC's Customer Services Department only served to entrench them further on the dreaded list, their staff in the Bath branch could not have been more helpful, and the erroneous charges were refunded. TfL have also been taken off; despite some faffing around they did offer to refund my Oyster card after the overcharging incident.
Finally I have also introduced a new 'JP Recommends...' section, which will hopefully develop in to a concise list of places I have enjoyed or maybe good books I have read and that sort of thing. After an excellent Mixed Grill (washed down with a pint of Brains*) I feel that the 'Ship Aground' in Dinas Cross is a deserving first entry, and I look forward to expanding this section in due course.
*For those of you (singular) who were criticising my choice of drinking lager the other night, I can assure you (officer)** that Brains is an ale.
**Competition Time: Which film does the line I have attempted to play on come from?
Friday, May 11, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Anyway, now that I've had some sleep I've been able to come up with something a little better. It's a song lyric I'm particularly fond of, and although my first reaction to reading that Prince is doing a gig in 'the venue formerly known as the Millenium Dome' was not "it's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife" I do feel that it fits well with the actual title of the song.
In their own nanny-state way the SU decided to hold an emergency general meeting (EGM) to propose a no-platform policy aimed at preventing Mr Griffin, and others like him, from speaking at the University. I do not feel that this was the right approach, and such a denial of Freedom of Speech is typical of the "tolerant" attitude which is currently so trendy.
I responded to an email from the SU President, and my views on the matter can be summarised as follows:
"Whereas I have no problem with the SU being obviously anti-BNP, I struggle with the proposed motion to pass a no-platform policy.
Like most, I am not a BNP-Supporter, but I do not feel that the SU should impinge on anybody's freedom of speech. University is a time when students really learn to think and develop ideas for themselves, and censorship of any kind denies the right to do that properly. Although it is very kind of the SU to take responsibility for ensuring that we are not exposed to the BNP, I feel that such a stance is belittling to say the least. I am perfectly capable of coming to my own conclusions, and I am perfectly capable of dealing with extreme ideas.
Furthermore, any publicity is good publicity, and the recent flurry of activity and EGM organised by the SU will ultimately only serve to generate interest and curiosity as far as the BNP are concerned. As I mentioned above, I have no problem with the SU being obviously anti-BNP, but the moment active steps are taken to prevent Nick Griffin from speaking at all he will become an object of curiosity as people seek to find out what the controversy is about. It would be far better simply to quietly make it known that the SU does not wish to be associated with the BNP and let events proceed as planned without further interference or publicity."
Unfortunately, I have just found out that the University has decided not to allow Mr Griffin to speak, and a press statement can be found here.
Now don't get me wrong, I can see that there are some perfectly good practical reasons for the University not wanting to allow such a controversial figure to come and speak. I can also understand that if the nature of his talk was advertised to be racist or otherwise offensive then that provides a basis on which to disallow it.
However, simply to deny someone the right to speak based on who they are is, I believe, wrong. It is certainly not befitting of an institution whose nature should allow its members to be open minded and have the opportunity to come to decisions on their own.
It seems strange that in this country people are so keen to halt freedom of speech in this way, and yet when Mr Griffin, and others such as Abu Hamza have actually got as far as stirring up racial hatred very little has ever been done about it.
EDIT: I am aware that my last paragraph is inaccurate, especially given that Abu Hamza was recently jailed for seven years. However it still took time for this verdict to be reached, and my point is that I'd rather that there was a better reaction to what someone actually says rather than simply introducing a ban based on what it is presumed that they might say.
It was strange not being in Oxford for my birthday this year. I didn't get up at the crack of dawn, the streets were not lined with tens of thousands of people and I did not go punting. Nevertheless I enjoyed the amazing weather, which I made the most of by spending much of my day outside in The Parade, and I made sure that despite it being a very busy week I still relaxed and enjoyed myself.
Anyway, it's been a very intense few weeks but having handed in my final piece of coursework this morning I have found myself with a quiet hour to kill on campus and thought that it would be an opportune time to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and splurge some of the thoughts and observations which I have collected in recent days. Whether I will be compos mentis enough in my sleep-deprived state to grapple in depth with important events such as the recent election or Tony Blair's departure remains to be seen but I hope that you will stick with me nonetheless.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Back to it - and normal service will hopefully resume soon...
Defined by user