I Just Dinnae Ken

I haven’t been sleeping at night.

It is because of the impending Independence Referendum which is happening in Scotland, in under a month. It is a change for the people in Scotland to decided our future. To decide where we want our country to go next. It is a chance to show the world who we are, and what we stand for. There is just two options. Yes or No?

When the announcement for the referendum came about, I was feeling that with English relatives, I was British, and that was that. In the last several months, various propaganda have come out for both sides. Telling us why or why not to vote for independence. Great, both sides should get a say. Put across their side of the argument and let the people decide. So, because I felt like I wasn’t looking into the debate enough, I started reading up on it. Looking at the policies and following both sides of the debate on various parts of social media. I had decided that if I wanted to look at the debate equally, then I wanted to see the public faces of these campaigns. I wanted to know what the folk promoting their side had to say about things. Seemed to make sense, at the time.

However, I have found that all these avenues have just confused me. Whilst Yes Scotland and Better Together have presented arguments for their side, it has become difficult to decipher the facts from the campaigns from personal opinion and views. There is a big case of each side calling the other ‘liars’ and trying to debunk what each other says. People who have made their mind up, are so blinded that they see any other option as ‘wrong’ or ‘stupid’.

In my opinion a good political discussion should be able to be held, without superior undertones and offending any doubters. Every person is making their opinion which is personal to them, and accepting that is the first step to an adult discussion on anything. But that isn’t happening. I try to go on various forums and speak about the debate with people from either side of the debate. This seemed like a good way for people to show me how they were convinced of a particular side, and how they feel about it. But that didn’t happened. I would question what people said, to try and find out more on the main points of the debate, and I would be made to feel stupid and insignificant. To the decided voters, what their side says is obvious to them, because they believe it. Because they are already chosen their side, it may become the only option. Because it is the only option to them. It may not be the only option for everyone.

And that is democracy. Not, vote my way or you are a moron. Accepting other opinions, and feeling secure enough to put down your opinion, and leave it. This debate has become over-run by people who appear to have not looked into any politics before in their lives. People with a ‘do or die’ momentum. There is no good or evil side. There is no suspense driving background music that comes on when you read something made-up or misleading. Life isn’t that easy. You have to look at all options and decide for yourself, and try not to get discouraged or bullied by those who belittle you. It is having the belief that the voters will make the right choice, and to go with that choice, whatever your personal feelings. The main thing, that people remain united, try not to fall out with people with different views.

I apologise at this stage, because I realise (as usual) that I have rambled. I needed to get out my feelings about this vote, because I hope to start afresh. Over the next few weeks, in the run up the referendum vote, I hope to post directly from both Yes and Better Together. I hope to clarify the vote for some undecided people, like myself, and make sense of this mess. I want to make it clear that whilst interested in politics, I have no formal education or experience in this field. I just want to paint a picture of the debate, without the posturing, and in the process calm myself down about this impending vote.

Anarchy Camp!

What is anarchy?

Would an anarchist society work?

Anarchy is really living a life without rules. It’s about not answering to anyone, other than yourself. So if you lived in an anarchist society, you would be forced to be self-sufficent. You wouldn’t be able to scrounge of the government, because there wouldn’t be one. If you wanted something, you’d have to go out an get it.

This, as an idealism, sounds really positive, something that would encourage people to take responsibility for themselves, and not blame their worthless existance on those around them. But it would also mean no order. So whilst you will have people who would go and work for what they want, you would also have people who will not work, and just steal what others have worked for. This would then lead the ‘victim’ to look to punish the person who profited from their hard work. And this…is order. Something that true anarchism is against.

So it’s hard to see how an anarchist society would work, as people automatically will try and establish some kind of order to the chaos, therefore taking away from the level of chaos. It is something that makes people feel safe. It’s similar to the whole ‘knowledge is power’ mantra. If you know how a particular person (or group of people) is supposed to act, then it is settling, makes a person feel better. It’s like we are built in a way, that if we are aware of what is going on in the world, we will live happier in our own lives.

So whilst anarchism comes across as a nice idea, we will get to a point where we will crave the routine and the structure organised society brings. It would turn into a case of ‘the grass is greener on the other side’. Again, something which is in our nature. As people, we are constantly looking for something that works best for us, and like to think that if things did change, what would we get out of it. Everything we do, it comes down to how it would effect our lives, because that is all we know. Our own lives.

Now, I have been a part of the Scottish punk rock scene for the last 4/5 years of my life. Whilst it is centred around music, there are always going to be the fact that much of the roots of punk are based in the idea of anarchy. The degree in which people employ anarchy and punk in their lives varies, with some people spending their lives unemployed because they don’t want to conform. Others, like me, work a steady job, but try to live their life the way they want to, and fight for what they believe in. What ever part of the punk spectrum people fall into, there is no way around the fact even being unemployed is filling out a role in society.

Is the whole ‘I am unemployed because I’m an anarchist’ idea as flawed as I think it is? Most people who are unemployed get money from some kind of benefits, provided by the state. The state, get the money for these benefits from those who work and pay taxes. You form part of a system, something that anarchists are against. So unless you live off no money, don’t purchase anything at all (especially not those new Dr Martins you have there) and contribute sweet F.A. to the world around you, then NO! You are not a true anarchist.

Me, you, your neighbour? We are all part of something bigger than us, somthing that goes beyond modern society, back to our traits as pack animals. You can’t just opt out of that, because as a human, you need people around you. Contributing something, no matter how unimportant, will always make you feel distinguished because it is part of our psychology.

I have barely touched anything on this topic, and I really could go on more. I will possibly post more, but the whole ‘anarchy’ thing has been running through my head all day.

The Right To Protest

Are things really that bad, that people are turning on protesters? People who are fighting against cuts, job losses and university fee hikes. Why are these people, who are standing up for what they believe in, and they get degraded by the rest of the working class. Is it because the non-strikers are jealous that these people have the bravery to go and try to make a statement. People are too scared to do something and take responsibility.

The think that annoys me, is that the average MP in the UK has 15 aides. That is 15 office staff and publicists. Why does a man who doesn’t even bother to go to parliament and fight for who he is representing, get the chance to staff a whole office? That is not required. You can fire teachers and nurses, but the people in charge of the country can employ as many people as they want. That is not equality, that is the upper classes getting everything again.

For years, we were told that we ‘needed an education’ to be successful, during which the countries industries all left to fairer climates, where the labour was cheaper. But that’s ok, we were told ‘everyone can go to University and we will still thrive’. Now, in the year 2010, 9/10 school leavers plan to go on to some kind of further education, whereas 30 years ago 3/10 school leavers went to study more. Whilst I am all for learning, and am someone who went to college, I am a person who is sitting after spending a life in education thinking ‘now what’. There is still no industry in this country, so you find that people get their qualifications, and then can’t get a job with them.

This has led to a generation of University graduates working at McDonald’s or getting benefits, with school kids being pushed to university. So you have a person early 20s, with sometimes NO work experience, trying to get a job with a piece of paper which has done nothing but get them in debt. Now they are trying to scale back on Universities and Colleges, but there is no alternative for kids who don’t go to college. Work in a shop or work in a call centre. That’s it, there are no more factories for people to work in, all the production for things have gone to countries like India. This has all been done in the last 20 years, and nothing was done. People sat back and watched as factories closed and people were made unemployed.

Sounds familiar? Yes because this is something that has intensified again over the last few years, with companies using ‘the recession’ as an excuse to axe whole workforces. But this time people are getting angry, and they should be. People should feel the need to support their striking brothers and sisters. If you don’t support the fellow working man, then what happens is the businesses and the government continue to run the country with your money.

And the funny thing? This whole job issue started with the Conservative party banning Trade Unions, destroying the working persons’ right to protest any change in the workplace. The Conservatives then blame Labour for the mess, and seem to forget that they set the ball rolling. Social housing is another big thing, as we have a shortage in the UK of affordable rental properties. Good ol’ Maggie Thatcher and her cronies allowed people to buy their Council Houses, a practice which was only stopped in the last year or so. This helped people get on the property ladder, and made it a necessity that everyone had to own their home. The catalyst for this was the money it would bring into the ecconomy. Now we have no Council houses as they are all owned by private tenants. And the people who struggle have to rent privately, which cost more.

It’s always the same people who seem to suffer, and to stop that, those who can, should protest.

FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS, BECAUSE NOONE ELSE WILL!!

More Than Just Words On A Page

I am not a journalist, not educated in the skills of the written word past my High School education. And by the stage I began to get interested in writing, I was in an anti-school state of mind. I hated exams, and that’s what it felt like school was like, one massive exam.

But this doesn’t mean that I am invalid to comment on the amount of tripe in the media, which is dubbed as ‘journalism’. If I went with my impulse, and followed a career into journalism, I would have been surrounded by the egomaniacs, who are hellbent on being ‘celebrities’. Something that sickens me. I would have loved to have a career in journalism, because I love writing and I enjoy discussions that follow one sharing their opinion on events. That’s it! I wouldn’t want to be on television, as I find that seems to be full of arrogance, and my day-to-day life is filled with that already, thanks very much.

Teenagers now follow a career in journalism because they think they will get on TV, so that they can become ‘celebrities’. That isn’t journalism, that isn’t reporting something true to yourself. I think it would have destroyed me, to have to communicate something, which wouldn’t be true to myself. Maybe this is a fault I have, that I can’t write about something I have no passion or interest in. I don’t know if I view writing too much of an art form. Because that’s what I think it is, I feel that it is an emotional release, where you have to be inspired write something of interest. Like, I have to believe what I’m writing about, or it just becomes very transparent and boring. Because I have always looked upon all types of literature in this way, I think that I find it alarming that so many people use it for nothing else, but to make themselves famous.

As a child, I dreamed of writing a novel, but that was more because I felt a bit of pride when I saw someone reading what I wrote. It made me feel so light-headed, if the reader enjoyed my creation. Now, I just feel jaded with media, because it seems that a lot of things seems to be lacking emotion or have an ulterior motive. This has been a thought that has bothered me within the last few years, particularly around the time of the General Election. I found that whatever, newspaper or TV news report I encountered, it seemed like they all had their own political alliances. Like this form of educating the Great British public, came with unavoidable propaganda for a Political movement. Maybe I am naive, but I am of the opinion that all media should be impartial. Ok, I know that seems like I am contradicting what I have just said, but I think that if you have all the journalists saying what they believe in, and then you have a variety of opinions, then you have platform for a range of views to be heard and then allow the public to make their own decision.

But that is giving too much power to the public isn’t it? We live in a society where it is dictated to us who we should admire. There are thousands of ‘celebrities’ who have won their ready-built fame through ‘reality’ TV. Why are we being forced to celebrate some mediocre singer, who fucked someone once? Shouldn’t it be the person who has spent her life crafting her own voice, who is still singing in local bars, getting all the attention? Shouldn’t we be celebrating the lives of the doctors who save a normal person? Why should we accept that a man kicking a ball for 90 minutes a week, is able to earn 200 times the salary of the normal working person?

It’s obvious that things in society are far more imbalanced, than just the media. The big thing I have an issue with, is the emergence of the ‘showbiz media’, the magazines, TV shows and blogs dedicated to telling the warts-and-all tales of famous people. I believe that the ‘celebrity’ culture was created, to take the attention away from more pressing matters, such as the more unpalatable parts of the news, which often goes unreported. Proof of this, is when a class of 8-year-old school children were asked who was Cheryl Cole’s estranged husband, 78 out of 83 kids correctly said it was Ashley Cole. The same children were asked if they knew who was Prime Minister, 12 correctly said David Cameron, 21 said The Queen and the rest didn’t have a clue. Is that the message we want our media giving to children? ‘Who cares who runs the country, some nonentity’s relationship status is what’s important’.

That is why I both want and don’t want to be part of the media. I would like to get the opportunity to tell all these mislead sheep what is important, to help them get a better understanding of the world around them. But, I know that the ‘words of reason’ would find it hard to break through the latest relationship woes of whatever overpaid footballer is the topic of the day. Which would make me feel worthless, that ‘real news’ would be overshadowed by gossip. It makes you wonder how much of the media is controlled by the government, are we being sold gossip as news to try to dumb us down. As they say, ‘ignorance is bliss’ so it would be easier for the government to hide as much as they can, and just fill the gaps with ‘celeb scandal’. This sounds like something from a George Orwell novel, but it could happen, and I wouldn’t be suprised if it already was.

Terrifying thought isn’t it? How much of our ‘free media’ is actually free?

Money made?

I’m sure everybody reading this has had poor service at one time or another. But what is it that makes the service so poor?

Most of the time its because customers aren’t fully informed. People feel that they aren’t always told the correct information, when they speak to a company. Surely that is ridiculous, how can you give the money you earned to a company you don’t trust?

But nowadays, people are forced to accept these problems, as they HAVE to deal with companies. For instance, it is no longer possible for you not to have a bank account, whether you are on the dole, get a pension or work. Because money is now deposited automatically and controlled by the banks, and other companies. Too many people in this country never get to see a penny they have earned, because money is paid in and out of their bank account without them doing anything. We are forced into having bank account, because that’s how everything is done these days.

What about the people who don’t agree with the banks and how they act. There is no opt out. The banks earn millions of pounds day for looking after OUR MONEY. How is that fair? How is that looking after people? And to make things worse, you have issues and a change of circumstances, and you are punished with charges on your money. The banks run the world, because WE fund them.

I think that the economic crash, which has been going on for the last few years. The banks poor invested OUR money, lost it all, and the economy crashed. So you would think that governments would learn, and would give people more choice. But no, if anything they want to increase peoples’ reliance on the banks. That will not solve anything long term, and eventually there will be another crash.

We need to find a stable, better model for our society to run off. It is something that would take years, even decades to sort out, and I don’t even l know where we could go. Just it is obvious that the current model hasn’t worked, so we should look at something else to make our country successful, rather than just money.

But that is something that businesses and governments need to decide. Due to how society is now operated, a single person no longer has the choice to operate ‘cash in hand’. How is it correct that people are not allowed to take full control of their own money. If we can sort that out, I believe a lot of other things will follow.

To view more views on the state of our world, visit adbusters.

http://adbusters.org

Digital Economy Act- the reaction

Ok, I have had quite a few comments and emails about yesterdays blog. Useful that none of them occured as comments on the actual blog. 😕 Nice.

Having  a busy day today, so this is just an update. I thought I’d show that are people are as concerned as myself about this blog.

My friend Ryan can’t understand why this has been pushed through. It is a bill of great importance to the British public and can’t understand why they could not have waited till AFTER the election to make a decision.

An anonymous comment on the LiveJournal cross post of yesterdays blog said ‘As if the government need to prove how out of touch with their voters they are.’ I have to agree with this sentiment as they obviously hasn’t been much thought and discussion into the act, I mean a 2 hour debate on the act is not enough. We, the people, need to stand up against the government and show how we feel.

Speaking of showing how you feel, yesterday I said I had contacted my MP, Willie Rennie, about why he DIDN’T vote on the act. Well, I woke up this morning with a reply from him 😮 I know, I was shocked.

The jist of what I said was –

Why were you one of the MPs who DID NOT vote in the approval for the Digital Ecconomy Act? It is a joke that it was rushed through just before Parliment was dissolved. This could potentially penalise every one of your voters with an internet connection.

And he replied-

I agree with you that it’s a bad bill and if our intelligence had shown we had a chance of defeating the Bill I would have been there. Sadly insufficient Labour MPs rebelled. However, we did secure an agreement that regulations would be required after the election and agreed by Parliament. That will give an opportunity to change the arrangements.

So is that an apt reply. It makes sense to me, I suppose why should they vote, when they won’t win. But hold on a sec, is there not a General Election coming up? Could that same mentality be used by hundreds of voters when it comes to picking a candidate. ‘Why should I vote, when the person I want won’t win?’ To be honest, I am very greatful that Mr Rennie replied to me so quickly, he (and his office) are really good at keeping in contact with people. This is the second time I have contacted him, and to be honest he has not disappointed me. Yet. I voted for him last time, and he is very good at making sure that your voice is heard. So unless he does something stupid, I will be voting Lib Dem and Willie Rennie again this year.
Also- something to note, Ofcom is supposed to be monitering the Digital Economny act, and making sure that ISPs stick to the regulations. Well, it is going to take at least a year for Ofcom to create a ‘code of conduct’ which will work. Also, Willie Rennie is not the only political person to say that the Act will be opened for a more in depth discussion after the election. There is talk of it even being repealled. So I guess we working in the Creative Industries just have to wait for a while before we see what the outcome will be.
Random interweb find time. 🙂
Check out these pushy guitars:
Anyone else find them so cute? I want a guitar to cuddle in bed. 😛 Now, these toys are designed for kids, but why should they get all the fun. They cost £29.04 each and you get a choice from one of the three models. Either the rebel, the classic or the rockstar. If you fancy one, head over to http://www.curiosite.com/scripts/product/enproduct.php?idproducto=98960722 to get one.

Digital Economy Act- bad times.

Soooo…as you may have gathered from my last blog, if I have no college info to report, I am posting my random finds from the interwebs. I suppose the reason I am starting that, is because I spend a lot of time looking for news stories which I find of interest. So for every blog, I don’t have any college things to report, I will post some news, something which I value as important, so it will either be comic books, music or technology. 😛

A big SERIOUS news story is the UK government passing the Digital Economy Act, where it deals with ‘copywrite issues in a modern society’. The main points of this Act is that if there are repeated infringements on copywrite, after warnings from their Internet Service Provider (ISP) people can be cut off from the interwebs. This is a serious issues as if you get accusations, and your connection gets stopped, will it stop you from getting access with another provider? This could end up like some sort of quality check, and I can see ISPs profiteering on people with a poor history, where they have been banned by a provider.

This is a very serious concern, as there has already been numerous cases where innocent people have been threatened with court orders, after a company accuses them of illegal file sharing. Now, my stance is, if the method of ‘catching’ people is not efficient, how can a bill be passed to give the people who use these methods more power? It just doesn’t make sense. People are becoming nervous. Broadband  connections ARE NOT 100% hack-proof. Even with a password protected connection, people can still find a way to gain access. Now if these people, using your connection unauthorised, do something illegal and get caught. Its you as the account holder who will get penalised. Security needs to improve on routers, and detection methods need to be more solid, for this act to be a success.

Now the big thing that bothered me with this Act was Clause 43, which was for Photography, and that if the author of a particular image could not be contacted, then the image can be used anyway. This raised fears that someone would find a picture on Google, and simply say ‘I couldn’t find the author’ and they could use the image. This was dropped last-minute out of the bill, and will presumably get put through Parliament again once normality has resumed after the 6th May election.

It is very concerning that this bill was pushed through, just before parliament was dissolved for the election.  It is a bill which affects every person in the UK with an internet connection, and yet the majority of MPs were not present to vote on whether the bill should pass into law. This sneaked through, as if it was forced. And the media is making more fuss over Google, Microsoft and Facebook. This act was not publicised, because there would be an almighty backlash about it. Most of the MPs were working on how to start their campaigns for the General Election, rather than supporting something which could affect even themselves.

Without a foolproof method of detecting the law breakers, this act should NEVER have seen the light of day.

So, a rather serious blog, but I feel that everyone who has an issue with this Act needs to raise their concerns. We live in a democracy, where people can no longer be bothered to fight for their rights. This act should have been postponed till AFTER the election, it should not have been rushed through, like it was.

Read more about the Digital Economy Act 2010-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/apr/08/digital-economy-bill-passes-third-reading

O2’s reaction http://www.broadbandgenie.co.uk/news/20100412-o2-speaks-out-against-luddite-digital-economy-bill

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/apr/09/digital-economy-bill-backlash

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8603285.stm

I know this act was passed last week, but when candidates come knocking on your door ask why they allowed this to go through. Ask them why they didn’t vote. I have already contacted my MP Willie Rennie about this, and will say if he decides to reply. I am not holding my breath.