If anybody says anything on TV (particularly the BBC) it must be true.If it appears in print (the broader the sheet the better), it must be true. If your favourite celebrity says it, it must be true. If you don't have to think and investigate for yourself, it must be true. If you paid money for it, it must be real. If it was tweeted or liked on FB, it must be real or, at the very least, cool. If it is law, it must be good or right. If you don't like the speaker or writer, it must be wrong or untrue.
This is the depth to which debate has sunk on a vast range of locally, nationally and globally significant issues. We are fucked!
This is the consequence of democracy without responsibility. Too few people are electing our political representatives and holding them to account.
I think, therefore I am but do I need to graffiti cyberspace with my sieved thoughts to prove my existence? Am I a worthwhile source, an oracle to be sought and consulted? I disagree with you (dear reader), almost definitely but why should I imagine, if you even exist, that you would care to read my sanitised rumblings?
There is no controversy in Christendom and beyond that does not stimulate a brain cell or two in these pseudo intellectual bad lands. But why say it? Do I want to influence detractors or manipulate the weak? Perhaps saying it here satisfies the unborn preacher in me or unvexes by catharsis and sets me free. My demons are pacified by giving their twisted, thoughless and impure outpourings a voice. It does not matter that they are not heard; the innner turmoil continues to reflect the outer injustice and pain because we (you and me, intimately) have no power, not now, not ever.
Certainly here, currently trapped in the deep sordid south, there exists a whiney, didums, poor-ickle-me at the slightest sign of any kind of ailment culture. All colds are promoted to flus and apparently everybody is catching the same cold, it being spread miraculously quickly from one colleague to another.
Then comes the pathetic part: they all take time off work on 'sick leave', the organisation we work for foolishly encouraging this wimp culture by 'allowing' up to 7 days off on 'self-certification'. Those who fought for our freedom to be have turned in their graves so often, they don't know if they are lying up or down. People! Being ill is not a licence to complain about the quality of day-time-TV. Unless your are physically incapable of doing nothing, you should be at work! There is always something to do. Being miserable behind a computer screen, even if productivity is low, does at least go some way to meeting the commitment you made in that contract you signed, you pathetic, selfish, miserable slob. Your colleagues are having to pay for your absence in terms of extra workload and tax money that pays your wages while your are idle.
Let's have a no-more-mollycoddling' law. I propose that organisations/companies/whoever be prevented from paying any kind of salary for the first 7 days of absence after which, for continued absence (on sickness grounds), a doctor's note must be presented. That'll learn 'em!
I am no spring chicken but I dread reaching whatever age threshold it is that allows me to treat the whole world like slaves. I don't want to blame the computer because my clusmy old arthritic thumbs have made a menu vanish from the screen. I demand that I contimue to realise that I have made a mistake and I have to spend time fixing it. Other (younger) people are not my slaves. I must not hobble (or be wheeled) into a shop (if they still exist) and demand that a passing stranger tells me where I can find the thing I haven't bothered looking for. I refuse to look pathetic and expect innocent bystanders to come to my aid and then take a mile from their generous inch. I will set up my own new hard drive recorder because I will spend the time reading the f'ing manual, and researching online, and I won't expect anybody else to do it for me (because I expect to die tomorrow, which would make the purchase pointless anyway)!
The young will owe me nothing. I had my chance and I played my part in making the world the miserable shit-hole it is for them.
What is wrong with politics in the UK? Twenty first century UK culture is entirely determined by the 'wants', 'beliefs' and fantasies of a loose alliance of ten thousand or more minority interests. Each has a voice online and in the wider media and is able to project, bully and create a perception of influence far beyond the size of their pointy-elbowed membership list. None of these interest groups (Man made global warming, In/Out of EU, Benefits cheats, NHS whatever, LGBT, cycling etc.) care a flying fart about anybody else for at least the length of their next five minute online 'social media' controlled attention span.[end irony]
Politically, this noise is filtered through the spin machine of less than a handful of national parties, each aligning according to heavily biased advice on where most votes lie. Thus we have the SNP on a crazy-paved road to environmental destruction in the face of overwhelming and damning evidence of its futility. We have a Labour Party so broken by this anti-unity schmorgesborg of fantasy ideals that they resemble a 1970s physics lesson video simulation of random air particle movement. It is only by chaotic chance that their ideas collide often enough to formulate their idiotic policies. The Tories are at the extremes of all minority reactionary interests cynically manipulating them for their financial masters'ends and southern English narcissistic pleasure, whatever the sociological cost.
The solution - an exponential increase (relatively speaking) of more focused national political respresentation, designed from the outset to align with much smaller groups of specialist interest with a view to fighting their particular corner. These parties form fluid Left, Centre or Right alliances and groups with a view to building coalition compromises in Government; all under a good proportional representation electoral system, of course.
None of this is new under the sun across much of the world. It gives us, the electorate, a true voice and choice and it will isolate the weaker arguments who need to learn that, unfortunately, democracy should mean majority rule, and there is nothing wrong with that. Minorities will be heard but their influence will be democratically proportional and the independent parliaments of these islands will perform in the interests of the people for the first time in history.
In the meantime, in Scotland, we need the SNP to gain for us a level of independence necessary to achieve a better quality of governance, whatever happens. What in the name of anything that is or is not holy are we waiting for?
There is no question, in my mind, that Scotland (and England) would be better off in the long run as independent nations. There is a huge question over the price we would pay as a nation to prove this to ourselves. There are some amongst us who, with a little less respect for the democratic process, think we should be told and be given what is best for us. That includes, obviously, the southern English Tory voters' conviction that UK-wide 'Austerity' is actually solving the country's over-hyped financial problems.
In this context I find myself moving politically to a more easlily defensible position that would reduce the risk of decades more of bile and vile hatred, which helps nothing. I am re-born federalist. Let's try being wholly fiscally and administratively independent, whilst remaining in the UK. Discuss!
England, England, England; what have you done? It won't be long before you feel dirty and ashamed. You will need counselling or even more intense therapy; the self-loathing, lashing out and transference will be internationally damaging. This is the beginining of the end of the UK. Cameron will do a Thatcher and go out in a blaze of glory. Scotland now has a mandate to look after her own interests, thank God.
During this election campaign there has been some discussion (I won't say debate) on the very nature of enfranchisement itself, particularly amongst the young. The granting of voting responsibility to 16 year olds in the referendum highlighted the issue. There has been little further discussion on the meaning of that democratic 'right'. I have read this week of the appalling abuse of our casually policed electoral system in London's Tower Hamlets, which suggests a need for more rigour in the system, better ID control, especially.
There is a great deal of perverse sympathy expressed for our disaffected youth, who are not engaged, bless. The broader issue of whether we should be legally compelled to vote whatever our age and state of political awareness, has exercised (and damn near exorcised) my brain cell but a conclusion reached have I. Of course we should be legally bound to use our hard won 'freedom' to choose. It is the responsibility side of the rights coin. Nobody has ever claimed that we have a right to like any of the choices but choose, we must.
Nicola Sturgeon's very carefully chosen words make it clear why, wherever we live in the UK. Her first offer of support will be to the party with the greatest popular support (not number of seats). This means that not a single vote is wasted because even in safe seats the number of votes cast for 'losers' will count overall, proportionally.
Still need help deciding, this tool (based on party manifestos) produces challenging results.
So, watching TV news (Channel 4, I think) last night. They were interviewing pissheads on the streets of London, seeking views on the forthcoming election. On being asked about the possibility of the SNP holding the balance of power in Westminster, a moron/drunk said that it was frightening.
I thought, now he knows what the South of England filling Westminster with Tories feels like to Scotland. An epithany, surely.
What is it with that right-on, well-lefty, military grade hippy shit on Channel 4 news anyway?
It's time for a change chez Ingrate. The Windoze/Ubuntu dual boot arrangement is getting me down. I have to use Windoze for the odd thing and I made the mistake of installing Thunderbird on both boots, using a shared drive for data. This means I wind up booting to Win7 and staying there a lot more than I should, especially considering how long updates take!
I have found a slot in the diary and I am all set to start again with a new hard drive (1TB Toshiba hybrid SSD), on which I will install Linux Mint 17.1 (an old friend) and on it I will set up a KVM environment, on which I will install Win7. I am confident that the Mint install will be be fast and slick and that the KVM set up will be easy. I am certain that the Windoze installation will take the rest of the day.
If MS allows, I will get back to my Pi TV recorder project afterwards. I can't push my luck beyond a day, for life to remain worth living.
Jihadi John (aka Mohammed Emwazi) is cordially invited, mano o mano, to prove how 'ard he finks 'e is.
In astonishing acts of courage he has sawn the heads of terrifyingly dangerous tough guys, whose deadly hands have been tied behind their backs. While covered by armed colleagues, willing to enter the fray should the super-beings get out of hand, he has defied all danger and sawn away showing no fear whatsoever on his bravely covered face.
We understand, because this intellectual heavyweight says so, that he is unable to withstand sticks and stones delivered with the weight of state authority, so we won't use them. Our chosen champion will be unarmed and untied and won't use abusive language of any kind. The Ingrates think Jihadi John is a pussy in disguise, despite his broadcast heroics, and won't even bother to RSVP.
We will understand if travel difficulties prevent his presence in the near future and that others may have more pressing (and loud) ways of gaining his immediate attention, which may nullify our invitation and bring about a sudden reality check. Them's the breaks.
There is an interesting parking entitlement culture disease that is particularly endemic in the Sarf of Engerland but it is spreading. There is no doubt that the car driver/owner is being besieged by an ever expanding car-hating, bicycle-loving, bus-tolerating, pseudo-science dominated, local government money spinning gravy train. But, it is what it is, prices are high and it won't change unless we put environmental realists and socially minded intelligent people in charge. We have the choice. Until then, pay to park you bloody selfish penny pinchers. If you can't afford it, you can't afford your car! If you didn't have time then organise your life better! If it's too far to walk from a cheaper or free space, grow up or get fitter! The non-stop complaining from people who claim they didn't know it wasn't free brigade is turning my stomach, all the way round.
Most UK citizens have (at least at birth) benefited from some of the excellence available in our hospitals and other NHS services but, increasingly, many have terrible tales to tell. I have one such tale (2 infact, both set in the affluent south) but I'll help with the cover-up and spare you too many details. In recent months I have directly enjoyed life saving diagnosis and treatment through my GP and as an regular hospital out-patient and cannot complain. On the other hand, I have watched the uber-compartmentalised-budgetary mess that constitutes the local hospital/GP services nexus provide an anything-but-holistic effective death sentence to two close friends 13 months apart.
The first was on death row until the end of 2013 when, after many years of military grade medical dysfunction, his death certificate shows his diabetes and poor diet brought about heart failure; such an insult for one of such great heart, creative genius and relative youth. Another close friend, of equally boundlessly generous heart and less relative youth died last month after barely a moment's peace following a year of awful suffering. Suffering caused by a medical care system that she and we pay for (it is not free!), where each of its parts were incapable of realising that they needed to communicate with each other, scandalously so. Neither are ever likely to appear on statistics waved by band-wagon jumping politicos bent on ingratiating their way into power.
Nicci Gerrard wrote movingly about this issue, in an alzheimer's context, last year but it is much worse than even she realises. It is a general issue of age, mental health and an impossible odds post-code lottery. It is an issue of management/goverment/tax-payer prejudice. It is an issue of low-tax versus quality of care, as it is with education and social care. Across most of this united nation, the millions who can be bothered will huddle in the rain in May to vote for the party that they think will result in the lowest tax bill. Shame! Just wait until it happens to you! And double shame on last year's NO voters, who could have saved lives, at least in Scotland, instead of abandoning yourselves to the ignorance and prejudices of tax-dodgers and avoiders in the deep south (when are they going to talk about the self-emloyment scam?).
The unashamed smoke-screenery of league tables, public enquiries, criminalising and blame/scapegoat apportioning is obviously for the benefit of the ubiquitous political ignoramus, who expects his/her daily paper or TV news bulletin to tell them what to think. The same is true of those who think organised or celebrity child abuse is the extent of paedophilia in this country; it clearly isn't, by orders of magnitude. People of the UK, it is time to grow up. We really can't have our cake and eat it, not any more; we can fix this. People of Scotland, you can fix it sooner or you could have done if you had given yourselves the power to do it, damn! Hindsight is clear thinking that should have happened before an event. Stop listening to the self-interested narcissists and, this May, let's all hold hands and do the right thing, for once. Collectively, we have to exorcise the perceived boogyman notion of public sectorism and fully embrace it. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys in both the public and private sectors.
We've been fiddling with the layout here to save double scrolling on fixed height Divs, tweaked menus and we've finally organised the links page as promised, after a fashion.
Meanwhile, back on the farm, No.1 Ingrate has been planning for the grand inaugural Raspberry Pi parade. He (for surely you could not imagine it would be anything other than a He) has spent some more money. What use is the very cheap Pi without a case, PSU, cables, keyboard/mouse, micro SD card and something to make it fun to use? The fun part will be using the Pi as an alternative Media Centre and supplementary TV hard drive recorder. To this end, I will be availing myself (for I am He) of an ample surfeit of networked hard drive space and this Freeview HD compatible USB TV receiver. The plan is to install OSMC (formerly RaspBMC) on a microSD and boot it up, learn to use Kodi (formerly XBMC) and start streaming,recording and surfing in a better way than my current woeful setup can manage.
The cost of all the parts is higher than a new HD recorder would be but gone will be the inflexibility, proprietary formats, DRM headaches and never-to-be-fixed bugs, to be replaced by a much more user-friendly interface and an ability to play anything recorded where and how I choose.
A bit of fun, or thought-provoking navel-gazing? You Try.
It is interesting that I can share the lonely green square with a party I consider to be at the fascistic end of the authoritarian scale, who espouse beliefs and policies I could never support. I think the Political Compass people need to re-calibrate their criteria to reflect properly what the Green Party's 'environmental' stance is compared with what I understand by environmental. I would move the Green dot up and to the right by my interpretation of their stated aims. They propose to harm the environment and the economy by their unwashed zealotary; I want us to protect the environment and the economy by ditching the man-made-global-warming deception, precisely because I am staunch environmentalist! Square that circle!
No dear, we won't be having it with a nice cup of tea.
Being an enthusiastic user of Linux and general Open Source software magicness, I having been closely watching the development of the Raspberry Pi and similar hobbyist/educational devices. The idea of a very cheap computer (and the Pi is very cheap) with an impressive expandibility capability is very compelling. Plug it into the TV, attach a keyboard and your router and Rab's yer mammy's brother.
I've bought the latest (version 2) model from RS components because they do distance selling well and the price is right. They also do the delivery element of distance selling very well. It has safely arrived, this very minute and I can't wait to play. I was an early adopter of the Sinclair ZX range and it is stirring those same youthful geeky feelings.
It may not be the last Pi I order. I am thinking mutiple TV channel recording to my big fat 4Tbyte network drive, security camera applications, network firewall potential, home automation and so much more. It is small enough for every socket and switch to have a built in Pi! The fabulously named MagPi online magazine has more than 30 issues to read, filled with example projects.
Mustn't get carried away, not yet. Got to play the long game, there may be more money involved.
This thing is tiny. See a full list of what they pack into it at Pi.org.
I truely believe that not a single living soul reads these pages, yet I write. Maybe somebody will some day and it won't be too late. Perhaps I can point to in the future and say 'I told you so'. I've put this blog page on the front of the site to try and improve its SEO prospects because this page changes more often than most, which might help. Do I care? This is nothing more that a vehicle for venting psycological angst. I say the same stuff when I'm home alone. Nobody is harmed by it (if they are sane) but writing it down must offer me some release. On I plod. I do hope that somebody reads my opinions and maybe changes their mind about an issue I have highlighted or made them aware of. In that sense, this is a political platform and just giving up would constitute failure, so I won't.
I think I'll post more pictures, people like pictures. Here's one:
It seems, somehow, apposite. If it is not familiar to you, have a wee read here, if you are there (or here), if I may be so bold.
I have to thank Wings Over Scotland for reminding me of this quote:
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they come to fight you, and then you win.
M K Gandhi
The vote went their way and it was us that picked the fight but does that mean that they won?
We never ignored them and only laugh at them with good cause; they have ignored us for a very long time and laugh at us all the time. Now, they are picking a fight and seeking revenge. I think, therefore, we have won!
I don my sandals and march on.
I hope we are. I hope that it is OK to ridicule the Scots stereotypes and publicly mock them. Taking the piss out of eegits who voted No because they 'wanted to keep the Queen' should be a compulsory primary school sport. Printing cartoons of the Pope in a Celtic jersey taking a dump at Ibrox or the Queen kicking the shite out of catholic priest with his cassock at his ankles should never result in violence. Surely not in an open free thinking Scotland. Mocking the fat buff envelope passing, secret handshake excuse for planning law in these parts must never be a crime and lampooning fat drunk bastards with Glasgow accents is already OK, isn't it?
This is Scotland, we are a tolerant people; no jew/islam/catholic/protestant/gay/etc bashing here, is there? Is the No vote really about a self-awareness that we have to get our act together first; we're not actually ready? Did we not, collectively, have enough self-confidence because there is a poison, an ancient Scottish puss that we must first lance. We cannot risk being ruled by corrupt bigots after all. Between now and May, in particular, is a time for reflection. In or out of the UK, what could we do better? What must we do better. Nicola, now is the time for honesty in Scottish politics. It is time to kick some stools out of Labour while they are down so that you can rub some Tory faces in it before they start lying again. You also need to distance yourself from the Greens. That bubble is about to burst, not before time!
In a post union, free Scotland it must be possible to be Charlie or there is no point.
The NHS has killed a close and beloved friend who was too old for a low tax obsessed electorate to care about.
I will rant further when she is laid to rest. No taxpayer will like what I have to say!