Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

The Sunday Express leads today with FAMILIES HIT BY BBC ‘FILTH’ warning that children as young as five can access sex and violence through internet services such as iPlayer.

The article goes on to demand that children should be protected. Personally, I think that they are targetting the wrong people…

Children should be protected from post-watershed content, but it is the role of their parents to supervise and control what their children view. Just like the TV before it, computers shouldn’t be used as electric babysitters, keeping the kids quiet so that the adults can ignore them.

Shockingly, 3% of children between the ages of five and seven have a internet connected computer in their bedrooms, no doubt to go with their TV, DVD-player and shelf full of video nasties!

These people would probably be the first to complain that they can’t let their children play out for fear of them getting abducted, yet they are more than happy to leave them to roam the occasionally seedy world of the web without a second thought.

Any responsible parent makes sure that the PC is in a visible place where they can cast a weather eye on what their child is doing until such an age that they can be trusted to be cautious and at least semi-responsible.

Why do we allow these feckless parents to dodge their duties whilst insisting that everyone else should pick up the slack?

How many billions of pounds are lost to the economy each year due to road-works?

Why does nobody take any notice of the way our arterial roads are constantly clogged with the cholesterol of cones?

Road-works themselves may be a necessary evil, but as you pass mile after mile of cones with a 50mph speed limit, how much of it is actually necessary.

The national speed limit on even a single carriageway is 60mph, so why do cones on the motorway inevitably lead to a 50mph speed limit for the whole section?

I’m all for slowing down for the safety of those working, but let’s just slow things down for 100 yards or so that they are actually working on and raise the limit again once the danger has passed.

Going up to Edinburgh and back this weekend I must have passed miles of cones at 50mph and only one small section needed the restriction. In fact road widening on the A1 had a bank, ditch and half a field between the slow moving traffic (policed by average speed cameras) and the nearest workman!!!

By removing the restrictions when unnecessary it will also make things safer for those working as drivers will know that the reduced speed limits are there for a reason and so will be less likely to ignore them.

KingfisherBritish Waterways is appealing to members of the public to report sightings of Kingfishers on our rivers and canals, feaing that their numbers have been devastated by this year’s cold snap.

No doubt, the cold weather has been detrimental to a number of species of wildlife, but then no doubt these species had similar problems in the regular cold winters we used to get 20-30 years ago before all this global warming hysteria took a hold. These are animals that also survived the Little Ice Age a much colder period in recent(ish) history.

They survived then, and in all honesty are more likely to survive now as the human race is more interested in avoiding and repairing the damage to the environment that has come about since the Industrial Revolution. With the human race doing less damage, the flora and fauna will rebound in the warmer years (which should become more common due to global warming)

Of course if you believe the cause of global warming to be the lack of Toyota Priuses on the road then cut down your carbon footprint, but spare a thought for the poor kingfisher subjected to even colder winters and gradual extinction.

The choice is yours.

Flying PigIn a suprise result yesterday, Alan Ellis, who ran the Oink Bittorrent site was found not-guilty of the charges of Conspiracy to Defraud.

It seems that the record industry used the “Conspiracy to Defraud” law as an angle to get file-sharing prosecuted as a criminal rather than civil crime, unfortunatly as this definition from the FACT website shows, intention plays a huge part in the definition:

It is an offence contrary to the common law for two or more persons to agree to embark on a course of conduct which, if the agreement is carried out in accordance with their intentions, will necessarily amount to or involve some third party being deprived of some thing which is his or to which he is or would be or might be entitled.

In this case Alan successfully argued that the site was intended to improve his programming skills, and that since bittorrent can be used to  distribute any files (and indeed has since been developed for legal commercial uses) the responsibility for the content shared lies with the people using the site, not himself.

The Oink site and bittorrent tracker did not store any copyrighted files and the shared files did not pass through the Oink servers, it also seems that all donations to the site were voluntary and intended to cover running costs not make a profit.

Since copyright law in the UK doesn’t allow for a charge of  ‘facilitation’  the failure of this prosecution will make it very hard to bring charges against website owners/administrators for running a tracker.

As the “big chill” looks to be drawing to a close ITV’s Tonight programme aired an investigation into how we can stop the winter weather reaking havok.

According to the programme, the answer is £1.2 billion pounds initial investment and an additional £400 million per year to maintain it (in contrast, the recent cold snap has been estimated to have cost the economy £800 million per day).

Being away this year, I missed the most disruptive weather, but this has got to have been the first time in years that such a major disruption has occurred, so maybe what we really need is better planning rather than a huge investment for an event that hardly ever happened (and should become less frequent as the globe naturally warms).

Our biggest priority must be keeping the public transport links open, even if you can’t get your car out of the garage, if all it takes is a short walk to get to an operating  bus or train, you can get to work. Local authorities (or possibly central government) needs to look at our infastructure and give precise priorities. We don’t need to grit every road, but every area should have a priority route, and these are usually serviced by buses, that should be kept open no matter what the weather throws at us.

Supposedly every council in the country had 6 days supply of grit, but certainly in Rochdale’s case, this six days seemed to have been worked out as a light dusting of salt on a couple of main routes that they were legally obliged to treat, no thought seems to have gone into provisioning to keep the rest of the town running, or dealing with particularly hazardous roads (which to be fair, being situated on the edge of the Pennines we have quite a few of).

In truth, six days (if calculated correctly) should be more than enough to deal with winter most of the time, but we then need a centrally controlled emergency supply that can be brought out those times that we have more serious conditions, and this could be built up with the surplus from milder winters.

Perhaps the most affordable of the programme’s proposed improvements is the airports, (£75 million + £15 million/year) with over 235 million passengers using British airports each year, a levy of a few pence per flight to avoid airport closures due to weather has got to be worthwhile.

Finally, we have a huge manpower resource sat around even in the best of weather. It doesn’t need much (if any) training to use a shovel to shift snow, it’s time that we replaced the “dole” system with a “national service” that can be utilised in general to improve our environment, but can be rolled out in times of need to deal with conditions like this.

An advert for anti-bullying site has been banned from the TV because some scenes are considered too offensive!

It’s only a short advert, the content isn’t really graphic (it shows, from behind, a girl sewing her mouth shut) certainly far less than the films and video games that our children have suposedly become desensitised to.

More importantly, the aim should be to shock, those responsible have to be made to realise the harm that they cause to their victims and the victims need to be aware that there is help available. It harks right back to the original charter for TV, that it should educate.

The advert is dedicated to Megan Gillan, a pretty 15 year old (by all accounts a bright pupil) who despite being bullied was further victimised by the school, who segregated her rather than dealing with the bullies that pushed her to desperately take her own life.

Compared to the despair Megan (and other victims like her) go through the video (you can see it below) is nothing.


If you want to speak out, text SPEAKOUT to 84459 and donate just £3 to Beatbullying.

The cost of your text to 84459 will be charged at £3.00 plus your standard network text charge. Service is available for UK mobiles only.

An illegal-immigrant, Javid Iqbal,  residing in Bolton has finally been found guilty of rape, a reason for Police to celebrate you would think.

However, despite having a description and DNA evidence, this crook managed to elude them.

Three months later the victim even managed to supply them with the registration of his vehicle (after spotting her attacker in another part of town).

Of course, the vehicle might not have been registered, so maybe the Police were still struggling to find the perpetrator.

Three years later, they just happen to stop Javid’s vehicle, in the course of an investigation into illegal street trading and link it (and him) to the earlier rape.

According to the Police, “It must have been galling for the victim to see him a second time going about his business, but thankfully she was able to make a note of his registration which was key to us identifying Iqbal.”

All well and good, but the vehicle in question wasn’t exactly common place…

Had the vehicle been a red Ford Escort, maybe they could be excused the long delay in tracking it down, but it was infact an ice-cream van!!! Surely it doesn’t take much to letpatrol cars know to check registration plates on this sort of highly visible vehicle, what were the Police waiting for, the victim to supply them with the name, address and phone number of her attacker?

I can only hope that there aren’t more victims of this scumbag who could have been saved if the Police weren’t so incompetent.

After yesterday’s rant about gritting…

Up until recently, our road used to get gritted in cold weather, then a couple of years ago it stopped. I don’t like it, but since it isn’t a main road I can understand that the council’s priorities are elsewhere.

So, with councils across the UK being ordered to cut their gritting by 25%, and our council in particular complaining that the stocks are critically low and that the government has hijacked the extra grit they’d ordered, what happens?

I get home last night to find our road has unexpectedly been gritted!!!

While personally I’m happy, I’m also dumbfounded as to why Rochdale Council suddenly think they have grit to spare. I can only assume that some bean-counter has found some down the back of the sofa and they want to get rid of it before anyone else notices.

True Grit

on January 11, 2010 in Opinion No Comments »

With grit for the roads rapidly running out (if you believe the news and distrust Gordon Brown) it’s funny to note the excuses put out by local authorities accused of not gritting the roads properly.

1> Grit needs a flow of traffic over it shortly after being laid down for it to work.

Funnily enough, when I got back from Austrailia, the first thing I did was grit the area outside my garage (it’s not funny when the car starts to slide just as you enter an enclosed space), following day, that gritted area was snow free despite only having one car drive over it.

2> Grit suplies are low because the weather was unexpected and you can’t store it for a long time.

The grit I used was some I liberated from a grit bin last year when it snowed (and stored in my garage ready for the next time it was needed), not sure how long it had been in the bin, but it has certainly not degraded over the 12 months that it has been in my possession.

The true cause of the situation we are in however is the budgets and the hype about global warming.

In the first case, councils are being hit with ever tighter budgets for the essentials because their money is hoovered up protecting the pensions of council workers and funding strange minority projects like “Gay Lithuanian Pensioners against Apple Blossom*” when all they really should be doing is the essentials like emptying the bins and keeping the roads clear.

Secondly, with their unerring political belief in global warming how could it ever snow again, surely a cold-snap is impossible, so why bother to prepare for it – Boris Johnson’s London Transport Strategy (all 354 pages of it) bleats on about responding to climate change but not once covers what will be done in the case of freezing conditions.

* Please note that I have nothing against Gays, Lithuanians or indeed Pensioners, Apple Blossom however, is only fine whilst it’s on the tree, I hate it when it falls off and starts littering the streets 😀

When, due to the cold snap, disabled pensioner Joan Armstrong (81) found herself housebound, she called on Salford social services for help. She wasn’t looking for much, just someone to do a little shopping for her while she was unable to do it herself.

The answer she got is that she would have to wait two weeks for an assessment before they could do anything for her!!!

The fact that she didn’t know her neighbours well enough to ask any of them for help (and none of her neighbours thought to check up on her) is one problem, what we can do to get the community spirit back into our national psyche god only knows.

What is really alarming though is that the jobsworth at the other end of the phone, despite working in a caring profession, lacked the basic humanity to make the effort to get something done!

I’m sure that the people who actually do the caring (not holed up in a centrally heated office) wouldn’t have minded checking up on this vulnerable pensioner and could have easily done a quick assessment to show that she really did need a spot of help in these unusual conditions.

This “person” needs to be sacked, but more than that needs to be named, shamed and vilified, abandoning Joan in this way was attempted manslaughter.

Many pensioners faced with this callousnes would just have given up and likely become another victim of the cold, luckily in this case the Manchester Evening News became involved.