Monday, 30 June 2008

Positive Discrimination

From the very outset there is no such thing as positive discrimination. If one group is being favoured it negatively discriminates against all others. The idea that women and ethnic minorities should be put above other groups is wrong. It creates a feeling of injustice. I agree that the world is an imperfect place but you can only gain a utopian society of equality through education, by the abolition through practice, that what we call bigotry, but really is just another word for ignorance.
All positions have to be based on the ability of a person to do the job. Being a woman does not mean that they have any special insight into how to run a company or be an MP than a man does, but its their ability to do the job in hand that counts. This new law does two of the most divise things that have happened in recent years. It discriminates against middle class white men, the majority of the working population, more by historical factors than anything else and it allows the ignorant to claim a racial argument. I agree that all people should be paid the same as anybody else for the same job, but introducing a quota system as they have in Norway can only create a feeling of unrest and disharmony. I bet the BNP could not believe their luck when this new law was first muted. This is their next election campaign already written for them.
This is not a utopian society, in fact as every day goes by it becomes more and dystopian, but this law will not help. Unless of course you take it to the fullest extent.
After all surely its discrimination for MP's to be paid for a second home. I don't and as I'm paying for theirs surely they could pay for mine. In a world of equality which this law pretends to be a key text, where does equality start and end. Surely all people who work in the public sector should be given the same opportunity to have their second home expenses paid by the state. I actually can't see why the government don't buy a block of flats or a gated community and house the MP's in it, so that when they are unelected they can take over from the previous incumbent. One in as one goes out.
I know this seems to be on the trivial side of things but actually its not. A great many people cannot afford to pay for the single dwelling that they are living in, without MP's bleeting about how hard done by they are. Their is a choice of profession like everybody elses. I know several people who live in one part of the country and have to travel regularly on business to other parts. Their company does not pay for a second house for them. They have to stay in a reasonable priced hotel.
Students have to stay in a hall of residence provided for by the university which they pay for. An obvious template if ever I saw one. They are secure and affordable housing for people to sleep, eat and study.
Students come in for a bit of bad press. It has been said that they are all too thick so that the degrees are being devalued, but then if universities are devaluing the degrees to keep their figures up due to market forces then why should the government complain. Its exactly what they wanted, that market forces dictate the level of the product. You can't complain on one hand that universities are manipulating results to keep student numbers up when funding comes from the government who dictate how much funding is allocated based on student numbers.
The governemt have to decide if education is going to be a degree factory or if its going to be something that is worth while and an investment in the future on behalf of the country. The government have lost the point of education. They know how much it costs but they seemed to have lost its value.
Education is now driven by paperwork and league tables and statistics. The trouble with all these things is that they are all perceptive based.
A school may well achieve high standing in the league tables, but some schools are producing some really good members of society who will build our houses, dig our roads, get up at 3 in the morning to enable others to get to work. They don't get involved in crime, drugs, or violent acts. They will go unflinchingly to war if asked but according to the governemt figures they are failures.
It seems very strange that in their strive to achieve excellence through legislation that ordinary people like me never seem to come into the good figures, in fact ordinary people like me are discriminated against, because we just get on and do the job, don't make fuss or expect anything other than we get. Now thats positive.

Thursday, 12 June 2008


As far as I understand it, the problem is that we are in a credit crunch and are trying to avoid rising inflation at the same time. As far as I understand it it was to avoid this kind of situation that the Bank of England became independent of government. So tell me why is everybody in such a bad way. When I first bought a fridge it cost an enormous part of my wages now it cost the same as filling my car twice with petrol. You can't ask people to keep their wages down while allowing prices to rise.
Gordon could ease the pain of the fuel crises by stopping the duty on the vat that we pay for the petrol. He could stop it for the time while petrol is above the pound mark. Ah I hear you say that means that we the tax payer will be susidising petrol companies. Well if you start making it law that imported cars must have bio-fuels only. If cars start to not use petrol then the petrol that would be used to run cars would become a surfiet and consequently cheaper. I realise that this may be fantasy in the short term but how about having some form of integrated thought, in other words joined up government.
There are riots in the streets in Europe due to food shortages, caused by the transport system falling apart due to the increase in petrol;. I hate to remind the students of history the last time there was a food shortage in Europe. If you think that the BNP are not going to take advantage of this failure in government, you are mistaken.
The answer lies in the governments hands. Reduce duty, get the Govenor of the Bank of England to resign. He should have done so after the Northern Rock debacle, and get someone in with radical ideas, after all how worse can it get, I suppose the trouble is in the past its always been the ploy to get out of an economic slump by having a war, well we've got one so we can't start another.
What the public ned to see is confident action. Stop keeping to a moribund policy that is obviously not working and adapt to the situation. I am sorry but when people are in threat of not being able to pay their bills,affording their mortgage and having to cut back on food, while a footballer has been rumoured to be offered 300,000 a week, something is radically wrong. If football clubs can offer such sums then two things are obvious, they are not paying enough tax or they are living on credit that they will never be able to pay back.
By the way can someone tell me what we are going to do with all the extra nuclear waste that the new stations are going to produce when they come on line. We can't cope with the ordinary waste that we produce. For the cost of one of the new power stations how about supplying every house with solar panels. Cheaper and healthier in the long term.
Though I do criticise Gordon Brown a lot, I must praise his unflinching stance on Robert Mugabe. The situation in Zimbabwe is unforgivable and should be ended, not by us but by the other African nations who should act not for economical reasons but humanitarian ones.

Monday, 2 June 2008

The economics of terror.

Now as far as I understand it Gordo wants to increase the holding period of terrorism suspects for a longer period. Why? Is it to prevent terrorism or to find out information. I am all for protection of people, all people civilians or military, but surely holding someone for a greater period of time will not prevent this. I remember the Bobby Sands fiasco, turned into his martyrdom, and how many recruits did the IRA get then. Surely the way to combat the kind of fundamentalist terrorism is to win hearts and minds, not lock people away.
But what kind of terrorism. The inmates of Guantenemo Bay, those who have been incarcerated fro years without trial, did they supply evidence to prevent a terrorist attack. The information they have must actually be well out of date now. By allowing this new law to go through it does nothing for the security of the country, though I think that bringing the troops out would go a long way to stop acts of terrorism on these shores. But it does bring me to a fine point of when is intellegence good. After all the whole point of us going into Iraq in the first place was based on intellegence gathered by the security forces that told of weapons of mass desrtuction, but that proved to be totally untrue. So if we beat someone to a pulp, put them before a military tribunal and try them is the information they give going to be any more relaible than that which the public were given to get us into the war?
Its a lovely diversion though isn't it. After all the economy is collapsing around our ears, food prices are going up, fuel bills are going up, the economy policies of the banks are proving to be more suspect than we could ever imagine, but what do the labour backbenchers complain about the detention of suspected terrorists for longer than 42 days. The whole idea of this being the most important subject in a world of chaos, is spin. We cannot afford to feed our old, we cannot afford to educate our young, but we can afford to fight an unwinable war and have our civil liberties eroded. When midwives are being made redundant in a baby boom,the security services have doubled their staff.
The problem is the hyperreality of the situation. We are so entwined with the idea of our civil liberties being taken over by Islam that we are more than happy to have a continuous war to defeat a strategy thatn any schoolboy historian will tell you is undefeatable. You want to defeat terrorism then persude the ordinary well meaning caring people of islam to ask questions of their elders. Please lets not forget that there are more Christians in Pakistan than Muslims here and if they start a jihad from the way they are being treated then all the large economies that have invested heavily in the third world will fall apart. Communism could never defeat capitalism, capitalism will defeat capitalism because it will eat itself, followed and encouraged by religious fundementalists who will show a better way. Why be poor and unhappy when a better world waits for you without the trappings of a western society. Afghanistan didn't just happen. Taliban didn't just appear one night and take over. It was a systemiatic mind shift by a people who had been betrayed by everything. After all Milton said he would rather be a master in Hell than a servant in heaven.