mirrorshard: (Default)
After the Late Unpleasantness at Bishopsgate, I've thankfully seen a very sensible attitude towards the police from all my friends-list. A couple of times, though, I've seen commenters talking about "pigs" or "filth", as though the police were some monumental dehumanized bloc. Please, if someone does this on your journal, point them to this.
mirrorshard: (Curse the Darkness)
As you've probably seen by now, the policing tactics used against protesters in London on April 1st were appalling. [livejournal.com profile] libellum has an impressively detailed roundup here.

I've written to my London Assembly Members -
letter under cut )
Here are the responses I got, from the Lib Dem Members -
LibDem response )
- and from the Labour group.
Labour response )
mirrorshard: (Autumn skin)
If you haven't seen this appallingly racist cartoon in the Times, I recommend it for sheer did-they-actually-publish-that value.

Edit: please read the comments before leaving "helpful" corrections. If someone else has already said it, I don't need a "me too". Thank you.

I can't find an address specifically for complaints; comment@thetimes.co.uk gets autorejected. I've sent the following to online.editor@timesonline.co.uk as the apparent next most appropriate thing.

Read more... )
mirrorshard: (Default)
Boris Johnson's right about one thing; taxes that "clobber the rich" could well deter high earners from continuing to work in the financial sector in this country.

So that's one very good reason why it should happen.

They broke it, they bought it.
mirrorshard: (Curse the Darkness)
Remember those emails we were supposed to send, so the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights would see Craig Murray? They got deleted unread.

Poverty

Feb. 26th, 2009 01:26 pm
mirrorshard: (Default)
I'm interested in what you think poverty means. Because of who I am (and, frankly, who you are) this is mostly about poverty in the context of rich countries. Warning: may be triggering for some.

poll below cut )
mirrorshard: (Default)
Since I just got a reply to my complaint to the BBC, herewith some commentary on portions of Mark Thompson's response.

We usually - though not always - accede to the DEC's request and as a result have broadcast many DEC appeals over the years.

So which others were turned down, and why? Claiming that you're Independent, Dammit isn't going to do you any good if you weasel about it.

One reason was a concern about whether aid raised by the appeal could actually be delivered on the ground.

Not your responsibility. The DEC knows better than you do, mate.

But there is a second more fundamental reason why we decided that we should not broadcast the appeal at present. This is because Gaza remains a major ongoing news story, in which humanitarian issues - the suffering and distress of civilians and combatants on both sides of the conflict, the debate about who is responsible for causing it and what should be done about it - are both at the heart of the story and contentious.

This is quite sneaky. They're attempting to place both sides of a conflict on an equal footing, and to assert that "the suffering and distress of civilians and combatants on both sides of the conflict" are equivalent, which of course they aren't. A hundred-to-one death rate is fairly one-sided, really - and that's just the raw numbers, not the civilian/combatant breakdown.

And how are the humanitarian issues contentious? People are suffering and dying. That's not really contentious, unless you really do believe that the context is more important than the suffering.

...our news services where we can place all of the issues in context in an objective and balanced way. After looking at all of the circumstances, and in particular after seeking advice from senior leaders in BBC Journalism...

Because it makes such a difference that people are suffering and dying, depending on the context in which they're doing it, of course. And it's OK because we asked ourselves whether or not it was.

The question is whether you can disentangle the War issue from the Crisis issue, and the BBC don't appear to be even attempting to do this - or they believe that the GBP won't be able to do this. The broader issue here is that not all War issues are identical, or even alike.

Politically, Israel has deliberately caused a humanitarian crisis. There are already a lot of people sticking their metaphorical fingers in their metaphorical ears and humming loudly over this, but it's what has happened; in fact, it's a large part of many state (or pseudo-state) warmaking doctrines these days. (Cf. sanctions in Iraq, bombing power stations, &c.)

But I haven't seen anyone seriously arguing that in attempting to remedy said humanitarian crisis, we would be engaging in an act of war against Israel, because arguing that would be Bloody Stupid. Aid & comfort to the enemy, possibly - but again, that's a typical black-and-white warmonger's view. No matter who caused the crisis, it's Not About Them. I want to help the people who are suffering and dying, and I don't care who it gives aid & comfort to.

I think basically the BBC have fallen into the trap of thinking, They're At War. We must take their aims Incredibly Seriously, because they are all grown-ups and not naughty children who need to be spanked and sent to the naughty step. Just because they're a state, and a nuclear power at that, it doesn't mean they deserve respect. Caution, yes, but in the final analysis what they've been doing is Getting In The Way while we try to clear up the mess they made.
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Thank you for your communication regarding publication of MPs expenses. I do not object to relevant, appropriate information being disclosed and both campaigned and voted into law The Freedom of Information Act. MPs communication with constituents was exempted and I strongly support that confidentiality.
six more paragraphs )
mirrorshard: (Default)
MPs want to change the law so they don't have to disclose details of their expenses after all. The 1922 committee is for it; that's a black mark right there. Both the Guardian and the Daily Mail are against it; seriously, that puts it on the unambiguously-bad level of the flesh-eating killer bug. Even shotgun wounds to the chest don't get that treatment.

Not to mention that they're quoting "security" as a reason. Window cleaning is not a matter of national security.

LibDem spokesman David Heath said: 'The public will not easily understand why the way we use public money should be kept secret.'

Well, don't do it then.
mirrorshard: (The Book of Rainbows)
Progressive, friendly politics.

It WORKS, guys.

Our man ain't all that, but what he's proved isn't about himself - it's about America. We've seen so much to fear and worry about here in the rest of the world (especially those of us, like me, who've never been able to visit) that it's been hard sometimes to hold to basic faith in humanity - that the silent majority really are good, decent, unbiased people, who value intelligence and honesty and don't care about the colour of someone's skin. Who won't be swayed by smears and lies.

The fearful, hateful people are always going to be louder and more visible - it's the nature of the beast. And the media will always keep reporting them, because fear and hatred are news. So it's hard to remember that they're not representative - that while the evil things always happen somewhere else, there's a great deal of somewhere else and our own safe, comfortable, leafy streets and vibrant multicultural centres are the rule and not the exception.

To borrow a phrase from [livejournal.com profile] fjm, the authoritarian right are trying to scoop up tadpoles in their hands, and we're wriggling through their fingers. People always talk about the gaps in society, the little places "nobody" sees - the ones that aren't watched by the government, reported by the media, controlled by hierarchies. Those little gaps? They're everywhere. We live in them. As for the all-covering net of Society... think of a wedding veil, with the groom's mother hurrying and cutting corners to get it finished, while the bride and groom (or the groom and the other groom, for that matter!) go dancing through the streets and showering confetti as they go.

Bigots, bullies, and authoritarians always shout loudest, and always want to tell us what to do.

But that's what secret ballots were invented for - so that all of us got an equal voice for once.
mirrorshard: (Default)

The very rich are not like you and I.
No, they have more money.


Yes, this is a post about Boris Johnson. Feel free to skip.

A lot of the Boris-criticism-criticism I've been seeing lately can be more or less summed up as "don't hate him for being a posh Tory prat". After all, we wouldn't dream of saying that someone wasn't qualified for an elected position because they were too working-class, right?

The problem with that is that the two aren't equivalent. Because our Mayor has always been rich, he's always been privileged and insulated - he's been surrounded by other people of his own class, race, and wealth level to a greater extent than any council-estate hoodie, first at private school and then at Oxbridge. He's never been forced to work at something he didn't want to do, never run the risk of homelessness or bad credit, never had to live hand to mouth. (To the best of my knowledge, at least. I may be wrong about that. If so, please correct me.)

The fact that he went to Eton depresses me more than the Oxford education - after all, many people manage to get through Oxford without being ruined. (And I should stress that this isn't linked to party affiliation. At the moment, they're all posh gits.) But he was a member of the Bullingdon Club, like Cameron, there. For those of you not familiar with the term, they're a bunch of yobs who dress up in penguin costumes and go out to smash up restaurants.

So, like David Cameron (notorious for surrounding himself with others of his own background) he has a far smaller range of people he can identify with, empathise with, and relate to than someone like Ken Livingstone with a more rounded education and socialization. I'm not trying to say he can't, or that he has no interest in it - just that being a posh toff brings with it a lot of disadvantages when it comes to relating to ordinary people, and posh toffs are statistically much more likely to be out of touch with ordinary people than the rest of us are.

What I'd like to see - though there are more than a few problems with the idea - is a rule that nobody can stand for public office unless they've spent at least six months on Government benefits in the past.
mirrorshard: (Default)
Bless TheyWorkForYou.com.
letter to MP )
mirrorshard: (Default)
An article in today's Guardian talks, in barely circuitous terms, about the Keogh/O'Connor case and what a judge told them they couldn't print.

We cannot even report - or link to - what Larry Miller, said about the trial and the document in his Letter from London for the American channel and website, CBS.

That letter would be here. I recommend reading it.

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