Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Hackery Blog

In case gentle reader you are wondering why I have been most quiet of late it is because I have been blogging in a different location. I am now a proud contributor to the Hackery Blog a new site where already established bloggers can post and raise their profile a little. The site primary blogs about UK politics, Foreign Affairs and Culture. So far I have written two posts for the culture section which can be read here and here. More ideas are swirling around and I shall noting them down shortly. In the meantime check out this wonderful new site and be sure to comment on my posts.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Seen in the City

On the tube on the way home yesterday I was reading the Evening Standard and stumbled accross this rather witty version of hte Lord's Prayer. It tickled my funny bone so I thought I'd share it.

'Our Father, which art in prison,
Only mum knows his name,
They riots come.
Read it in the Sun,
In Birmingham as it is in London.
Give us this day our welfare bread,
And forgive us our looting,
As we're happy to loot those who defend against us.
And lead us not iinto employment
But deliver us free housing.
For thine is the spliff, the Blackberry and the lager,
Forever and ever,
Innit.'

Monday, 15 August 2011

Riots

For those of you who have not kept abreast of UK current events last week saw a spate of mass riots and lootings take place in various locations across London. The looters didn't really seem to have any kind of motive other than greed making it hard for the police to reason with them or the public to feel any real sympathy for them. The only reason given that I read on twitter was that they were apparently 'claimin back [their] taxes, innit' despite the fact that most of those taking part did not pay taxes either as they were too young or on benefits.
Apart from a great sense of fear these riots have raised issues with regards to the levels of police in the capital, the treatment of people rioting (e.g. is it ethical to use water cannons or rubber bullets to disperse them? Most on Twitter seemed to think so, and indeed the reply to anyone harping on about human rights is that as far as I am concerned you need to be human for those to apply) and the benefit system.
I have seen various petitions flitter their way across my Facebook feed urging me to sign a petition for those involved to lose their benefits. This idea I find tricky - on the one hand I would very much like to see those involved punished for their actions, yes I have very much enjoyed the sight of more uniformed policemen on the streets of London, but their actions are after all criminal and cannot remain unpunished. On the other, those on benefits are clearly on them for a reason. Not every person on benefits is a lying chav claiming JSA because they 'can't be bovered to get a job', some are on them because they are genuinely unable to work and taking them away might satisfy the grumbling upper and middle classes but will probably eventually lead to more lootings caused by necessity rather than greed.
The riots have also had a positive effect too almost daily I am invited to become part of one of the various cleanup operations taking place in the worst effected areas. These riots have shown that while there is a part of society who is happy to behave violently and criminally in order to get a new phone, MP3 player and, for some unknown reason in Enfield, a new carpet there are those, and they luckily seem to be in the majority, who want to help their fellow man.
Rather amusingly the riots also highlighted the stupidity of those involved; some felt it a wise idea to post photos of themselves next to their 'swag' on Facebook and Twitter. The choice of shops targeted was also interesting in Clapham, one of the worst affected areas, any electrical shop, supermarket or sportswear shop was left in tatters while the local branch of Waterstones was completely untouched. This somewhat hampered Members of the Opposition who claimed people were looting as their libraries had been shut. If they wanted books so badly surely they would have targeted Waterstones?
At any rate it will be interesting to see what Dave and Nick decide to do next which regards to policies and changes in the Human Rights law. It will also be interesting to see how long it takes Ed Milliband to claim it's all the Tory's fault despite their being in government for little over a year and the causes more likely stemming from over a decade of Labour policies.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Voting time!

The Total Politics Blog Award Polls aare now open and it would be great if you could take a few minutes to vote for my blog. Below are the details and instructions, which I took from Total Politics:
"There are lots of ways of measuring how popular a blog is. You can compare the number of people who visit it. You can use complicated formulas and maths to plot the different variables. You can map its range on social media.

Or you can just ask the people who read blogs what they like best. That’s what the Total Politics Blog Awards is all about. There are no shortlists and no pre-selection. You can vote for any blog you like, large or small.

This is our sixth Blog Awards. But this year, we’ve made a couple of tweaks to the way it’s going to work.

Instead of sending your choices by email, you can enter your votes on this survey and choose the categories you think each blog belongs in.

We’ve also added a new element to the awards for individual bloggers. The blogosphere has changed a lot since the awards first started, and it is now much more common for bloggers to contribute to a number of different websites rather than maintaining their own personal blog.

Here’s how it works. Say you’re a fan of Iain Dale. You follow him on Twitter or through RSS and like reading his blogs. So you read him on his old blog, on his new Dale and Company site, on Total Politics, at the Telegraph and others. There’s no one site you can vote for to reflect your preference for one particular author. So now you can just vote for authors, independent of which sites they write for.

Of course, you can still vote for whole websites. So if you like the mix of authors and content on a particular blog, you can vote for it in the same way you always have.

This year, Twitter has continued to rise in influence in politics, so we’re also asking you to nominate your favourite political tweeter. We can work out who has the most followers and most influence, but we also want to know who is your favourite to follow and why.

Here are the rules in full. Voting opens at 9am on Monday 8 August and closes at midnight on Friday 19 August. Any votes submitted after that will not be counted.

The rules are simple.

  1. Your votes must be ranked from 1 to 10. The higher you rank a blog or author, the higher up they will appear in the aggregated results. You must enter a minimum of five names for your vote to count. If you don't want to enter more than five, just write 'blank' in the remaining boxes. Every box must have some text in for the vote to be submitted successfully.
  2. Only submit your vote once. If you vote more than once, it won’t be counted.
  3. Only blogs based in the UK, run by UK residents and based on UK politics are eligible.
  4. Anonymous votes left in the comments on the Total Politics website or emailed to members of staff will not count. You must submit your vote via the survey and you must enter a valid email address when you do so.
  5. Do not publish a list of ten blogs on your site and try to persuade readers to vote for them. Any duplicate voting of this nature will be disallowed.

Any queries, contact caroline.crampton@totalpolitics.com

If you have your own blog, we’d love for you to encourage your readers to take part. Just download the code from the 'related documents' tab at the side of this post and copy it to insert the blog awards logo with an automatic link to the survey."