Electioneering

I will be really glad to see the end of this week, with the General Election being completed and a result being in.

The biggest challenge this year has been in finding someone – anyone – that I actually want to vote for, and wouldn’t want to punch myself repeatedly in the face if they got in.

I suspect today’s election will end up being another coalition and a parliament built on compromise and cobblers, but I still hope that all the punditry and bullshit will be confounded by one party winning enough votes to have overall power.

But that’s it, and I’ll just really be glad when it’s over.  And from there, a new idea/phase/plan can kick in a bit, and see how things go. Another five-year project/plan, shall we say?


Six Weeks and Counting

Last night (well, technically this morning, as it happened at 00:01) the UK Parliament was dissolved, in preparation for the General Election on May 7th.

So that’s six weeks of most televised news coverage/programmes, with pontificating ballbags – both politicians and commentators/experts/specialists spouting loads of crap from all the available parties about what they promise to do for the next few years (and almost certainly won’t actually do, once they get in)

As with the run-up to the Festering Season, I’m going to try and avoid as much of it as possible.

I will do (and have been doing) my own reading on who to vote for – mainly by using the actual party’s websites, but also this outline guide, which is vaguely handy – who to support and who not.

I’m still considering (and at this point strongly considering) doing my own party for the next General Election, and seeing how things go. It could be entertaining – which is more than I can say for the next six weeks of bullshit…


Publicity

Over the last few weeks, there’s been a whole load of stuff talked about IS (AKA Islamic State, Isal, or ISIS) – both stuff about hostages held by IS (and the killing thereof) as well as politicians saying how people who go to fight for IS in Syria and the like are just Wrong.

Maybe I’m missing something, but surely if you don’t want people to go and fight for IS etc., there’s a few things that could be done ?

  1. Don’t keep feeding them the oxygen of publicity. The more they’re mentioned, the more they’re talked about and covered in the media, the more they’ll be seen as an attractive option by those of a certain persuasion / defective nature.
  2. If you feel they have to be publicised, you do the same as happened to the IRA, where no spokesman was allowed to be broadcast, any statement was done by an actor’s voice, so on and so forth.
  3. And make sure you don’t show anything but disgust for them. Fuck impartiality, allow presenters etc. to show what they think. Make it clear, say “The terrorist organisation IS has done this, but that’s the most we’ll say about it”.

If you take away the glamour of the organisation, stop feeding them airtime and headlines, they’ll stop being popular.

Of course, the other thing that can be done is to stop focussing on, and alienating, those sectors of the populace, making them feel that the country is against them.

As an example of that, I’ve a colleague who happens to have the surname Ahmed. He flies a lot for the company at the moment, and has been told – in no uncertain terms – “Oh, your name makes sure you’ll never be on the accelerated access programme to get back into the UK”.  That’s a completely law-abiding, tax-paying, UK-resident, UK-born person, who now feels more victimised than he has any right to.

But of course as a nation, we’re not letting terrorists win.  Riiiight.


Scottish Independence

In a few day’s time, Scotland will be voting on whether they should become independent from the United Kingdom.

Personally, I don’t give much of a damn either way on this one, if I’m honest.

However, I do think it would be a more interesting referendum if it had been a UK-wide question, rather than asked just to the Scots.

Anyway – regardless of the outcome, what I hope is that there is a clear and large margin between the Yes and No votes.  I don’t want to see it being 49 to 51 or whatever – because then it’ll just end up with more fighting, that the people who are in that ‘minority’ (that’s still just under half, and thus makes for one heck of a lot of people) feel they’re being forced by the other half to do what they don’t want to.

If it’s a 75 to 25 in either direction – maybe even a 60/40 split then it’s harder to argue the toss at all.

Mind you, the cynic in me really wants to see it split 50/50, and see what happens then.


Unbalanced

In today’s news, there’s (yet another) ceasefire in Gaza.

I’m neither pro-Palestine or pro-Israeli – personally, I think the entire thing is insane.

But what really gets me is the inequality of the body count.  From the article…

Gaza officials say the four-week conflict has killed 1,800 Palestinians. Some 67 Israelis have also died.

That’s just over 26 Gazans killed for every Israeli killed. And that’s disgraceful.

I seem to recall that at the start of this, the Gazans had killed one – yes, one – Israeli, for something like 200 Gazans. And I just can’t see that having one dead person is an excuse to go and re-invade a country and effectively declare war.


Lethal Injection

Apparently, a lot of American states are having serious problems with their methods when it comes to the death penalty. Lethal Injection in particular (used by the majority of the states that have a sentence of death) is facing problems, because the manufacturers of the drugs that are used are trying to block their use.

As a result, several of those states are using what are known as “compounding pharmacies” – effectively, places that can make small quantities of required drugs on-demand, a sort of grey-market DIY area instead of buying the necessary drugs/items from the manufacturers. This process is being done in secret, so no-one really knows what’s being used.

It amused me (I’m in that kind of mood) to see this quote though :

“There is no way to verify that what comes from a compounding pharmacy is what it purports to be, and that it is safe and effective.”

Sorry, but these drugs are being used to kill people. While I get that ‘effective’ is important, I’m less certain that ‘safe’ should be a concern.

Mind you, what I don’t understand is why they don’t just use significant quantities of seized illegal drugs. After all, a massive overdose of heroin (for example) or crystal meth is going to be just as effective when it comes to killing people…


M25 Circumnavigation

This weekend, I’ve driven round most of the M25. The only section I missed out was from M40 to M1 (which I do on a regular basis anyway, so no major loss)  and by then I was sick of the road anyway.

It wasn’t just for fun, though. Yesterday was a drive from home (M1) to Chislehurst, in order to attend the wedding reception of Merialc. That particular run was OK, thankfully – even with the prevalence of roadworks etc. – until reaching the Dartford Crossing, which was as shafted as always, and took half an hour on its own.

Today I went round the other half, having decided to visit my parents who live off the M40. The roadworks on that section were far worse, although at least we were moving, if slowly.

It’s been a fun weekend (which I know means I need to either get a life, or get out more) but Lord above, the M25 does annoy me.

Weirdly, it’s not because of the generally shit quality of the road, the ongoing road works, or the tossbag drivers. What annoys me is that the M25 had the chance to be a great road, a great future-facing way to deal with all the possibilities relating to the increase of traffic round London for the next thirty to fifty years. And instead, it’s a lofting great white elephant. Why? Because no politicians or planners had the guts to stand up and say “Look, this is what we need, but let’s future-proof it, let’s make it all five carriageways each side, plan for a huge increase in traffic, and make it work properly”.

It could’ve been so good, and instead it’s just a bag of shit.