Saturday, 9 November 2013

Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Well it's been a while since I last blogged (three months to be exact) but after finishing my personal statement I remembered why I started in the first place. So here I am, getting back into the swing of things, but don't expect this article to be as light-hearted as the other pieces because I'll warn you now... it isnt!

The subject I want to bring to your attention is one that I've planned on writing about for a while but have never had the determination to begin. It's not one of my comical rants or a topic that will soon become an afterthought. It's serious, and it's affecting the lives of possibly 500,000 people right now. I bring to your attention the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill (dubbed the 'Kill the Gays' bill by the media). I know I have a vested interest in this bill for obvious reasons but it doesn't matter who you are - gay or straight - to know morally that this bill is an absolutely disgusting piece of legislation. It was proposed as a Private Members Bill in 2009 by MP David Bahati and remains to be discussed and debated in Ugandan Parliament until a final decision can be made. The basic outlines of the bill when first introduced were divided into two categories - the first known as 'aggravated homosexuality' in which the offender will receive the death penalty if found guilty. Behaviour falling under this category are homosexual acts committed by a individual who tests positive for HIV, committed by an authority figure or parent, performed on a minor and those who are classed as repeat offenders. It's be said that the Ugandan government would now not implement capital punishment to those found guilty of aggravated homosexuality, arguable due to massive public outcry from LGBT campaigners worldwide. The second category is called 'the offence of homosexuality' and includes same-sex sexual acts and same-sex marriage. To be found guilty of this offence would result in a life imprisonment.

If that didn't raise your eyebrow then what about this? If you, reading at this very moment, did not report someone you knew to be homosexual within 24 hours then you could go to prison for three years. Think right now, do you know anyone that's gay in your life? It could be your best friend, your sister, your brother, your cousin. It doesn't matter to the Government who they are because to them, they're second-class citizens and they don't deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. I don't deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

I devote some degree of responsibility for the sudden 'need' to pass such legislation onto an absolute moron called Scott Lively. To give a bit of background on Lively, he wrote a book called The Pink Swastika which genuinely tried to blame the rise of Nazism and the atrocities that followed on homosexuals. This guy is a complete nobody in America so he turned to Uganda - a place which is easy to influence due to its warped, misinterpreted Christian values and lack of adequate education. He held a conference designed to spout anti-gay propaganda and as a result caused, what he called, a 'nuclear bomb against homosexuality'. He perverted his faith to fuel his own bigotry towards innocent people and then had the nerve to address the bill as 'too harsh'. It angers me that people like this man do not realise the influence their words have on the uneducated and easily influenced and how much damage they inflict on people's lives. Innocent gay and lesbian individuals are being physically abused, having their property vandalised, losing their jobs, receiving death threats, being subjected to 'correctional rape' and being thrown in prison for loving someone society and religion says they cannot.

Uganda has never shown any degree of tolerance towards homosexuality because of, in my opinion, it's Christian faith. The main 'argument' against being a compassionate, loving nation is that being gay doesn't comply with the idealised image of a traditional family and promoting such values would encourage sexual promiscuity to the Ugandan people. There is a belief that gay men are paedophiles who sodomise young boys and it's the Government's moral duty to 'protect the children' but all the while find it perfectly acceptable to indoctrinate their minds with complete corruption. Homosexuality is comparable with child molestation and bestiality, is said to be the cause of divorce and AIDS and LGBT movements are evil. It honestly sickens me to the stomach to see how I am treated by my society being almost a dream for someone in Uganda. It's insane that the people representing and advocating these ideas and beliefs are those sitting in Parliament making law. At the minute this bill lies dormant due to ferocious backlash from western countries but there's a good possibility it could become law in the next few years. Innocent people are being thrown in jail for loving a man or loving a woman... how is this fair?

Here's a trailer for the film God Loves Uganda which highlights the treatments of homosexuals as a result of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill:

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Prime Minister's Ban on Internet Porn Blasted 'Ridiculous'

Prime Minister David Cameron
I never thought I'd be writing about this but after Jimmy Wales - the founder of Wikipedia - blasted David Cameron's plan to ban pornography in the United Kingdom as 'absolutely ridiculous', it's found itself back in the news. If you missed the initial story, it goes along the lines of porn being blocked by default in 2014 to everyone unless they opt out of it. The scheme was proposed by Cameron in an attempt to ban the
viewing of sexually-illicit material (especially involving children) and make the internet more child-friendly. However its emerged that porn isn't the only thing that's going to be blocked - with smoking and alcohol related content all being suggested. If someone wants to view such content then they must explicitly opt out of the block meaning British IPSs will then have record of who is watching pornography and what they are watching. It's been argued that these IPSs are working closely with the Government, so not only do they have a record of your internet history but also your own Government is keeping tabs on you.

Cameron has made it clear that this proposal's sole purpose is to 'protect the children' but is that not the parent's job? There are numerous filters these days that block content for children under a certain age which are available for parents to implement and that's their responsibility and not the Governments'. Rather than wager a war against extreme pornography like child porn, by attacking the sites that post the videos and go after those who produce the material, they ban porn all together - and if you wish to opt out then you must accept that a record of what you watch will be kept

It shows how out of touch the Prime Minister is when he's insulting thousands of citizens in this country who watch such content by making it out to be disgusting. People have sex. Some people have sex and film it for other people to watch, but it's still sex. If David Cameron thinks sex is disgusting then he needs to look at his own children and wonder where they came from. Some pornography is not appropriate for anyone to watch (and I'm sure you know what kind I'm referencing) and I'm not against the Government trying to take it down but why is 'soft' porn being placed under the same category? There is nothing wrong with that kind and punishing the whole country because of the few sick people who want to watch the hardcore illegal stuff isn't fair.

The debate is still ongoing.


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Friday, 2 August 2013

Illegal Immigrants Told to 'Go Home' by the Home Office

Home Secretary Theresa May
Over the past couple of days there has been widespread criticism regarding the Home Office's latest scheme to clamp down on illegal immigration after being accused of contempt of court, inappropriate use of the social networking site Twitter and racial profiling.

Immigration initially made headlines last week when a £10,000 campaign began an effort to clamp down on those living in the UK illegally by distributing leaflets and posters in six different London boroughs demanding those in question to 'go home or face arrest'. Many argued that the use of the phrase 'go home' - which was spray-painted on building by white racists back in the 1970s - was the cause of increasing tension between different cultures and ethnic groups. This phrase was also plastered on the side of two vans ordered to drive pointlessly around the boroughs in the hope of scaring immigrants into texting the word 'home' on the number advertised and hopping on the first plane out of the UK - something of which I couldn't realistically see happening. Then a few days later immigration enforcement officers were positioned around certain London railway stations to carry out spot checks, leading to many complaints saying such checks were based on the suspect's ethnicity. Such an act would be considered unlawful in the eyes of the courts as an officer must have reasonable suspicion to search a person and cannot do so based on the suspect's race. There was further criticism when the Home Office decided to post pictures of suspected illegal immigrants, who had not been found guilty of any charges, on their Twitter page.

Whilst I appreciate the fact that immigration is a very sensitive and controversial topic in this country and many want to see the rate of people entering our borders fall (or why else would UKIP be gaining so much support?) the way in which this is being handled is insensitive and dangerous in terms of race relations. Immigration Minister Mark Harper claimed that the stop and searching conducted at certain railway stations were not based on the race of the suspect but from intelligence gathered - whatever this 'intelligence' may be is unclear. He also said that officers were allowed to talk to local people in the area about their immigration status but this was only done when appropriate - however witnesses who have since described such searches to the press had a different version of events. They claimed that officers were only targeting those from Black or Asian ethnicity and White people were allowed to walk on by without any interrogation. I reiterate the comments made by Dave Garratt who warned the operation could 'incite racial tension', as it seems to many that only certain people are of interest.

Perhaps, due to criticism concerning the leniency on immigration in the last year, the Government have needed a scheme to make it appear that they are getting tougher on those living here illegally but in turn have concocted a complete mess. It also does not help when the Home Office appear to be mocking alleged suspects by posting their pixelated faces on Twitter with the hashtag #immigrationoffender. Whilst some may be living in this country when they shouldn't be, they are still human and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

As there has been no 'intelligence' provided which explains how police know who to stop, it's difficult not to arrive at the conclusion that there must be an element of racial profiling involved - added with the witness accounts of White people being ignored when Black and Asians' are being harassed. The big question that's being asked is 'do the ends justify the means?' because, speaking theoretically, for every 10 Black or Asian people questioned 1 turns out to be an illegal immigrant so that's 1 more person out of this country that shouldn't be here in the first case. Does this not justify the search? No. You now have those 9 other people who believe they have been questioned purely on their ethnicity and will be feeling a strong sense of injustice. By continuing this scheme, more citizens of an ethnic minority will experience such injustice and this is only perpetuating - if not increasing - already strained race relations. This is a dangerous tactic by the Home Office which could seriously damage the social cohesion of this country and, whilst there have been arrested as a result of stop and searches, it does not help the greater good of the country.


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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Twitter Trolls Threaten to Rape Female Celebrities and Polticians

Twitter isn't getting a good reputation at the minute due to their failure to act over recent threats (including threats of sexual assault, rape and murder) from trolls towards female MPs and celebrities. Conservative MP Claire Perry received threats of rape after she led a fight against internet pornography, feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez also received similar messages after her campaign for Jane Austen's face to be printed on bank notes and TV historian Mary Beard suffered identical attacks. This is just a few of many vile tweets in an epidemic of attacks on the social networking site and Twitter have be criticised for their lack of intervention.

I'm sure the mothers' of these men who are sending these vulgar messages would be so proud of what their sons' have amounted to. It's one thing to engage in dark humour with friends on Twitter and another to tweet a celebrity about tracking her down and raping her - it's simply not funny. Claire Perry's fight against internet pornography has naturally been met with criticism and it's part of democracy and freedom of speech to express one's disagreement with suggestions and proposed policies. This fundamental human right, which other countries do not allow, should not be abused in such a derogatory manner.
Mary Beard

This issue was highlighted after the victims began retweeting (forwarding the message to their followers) the messages, saying they shouldn't have to put up with such abuse and the matter should be dealt with effectively. Amusingly a message sent to TV historian Mary Beard was retweeted to her followers - one of which knew the mother of the abuser (known as Oliver Rawling) and volunteered to inform her of his activity on the site. Threatened with the prospect of a bollocking, Rawling quickly deleted the message and posted a grovelling apology saying he was sorry for being rude and wished to be forgiven. This is a brilliant example of how trolls on social networking sites are cowards who have nothing better to do but attack those in better social positions because they are so hung up on how pathetic their own lives are. Prime examples of a loser.

The situation is still ongoing.


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Sunday, 21 July 2013

The Same-Sex Marriage Bill is FINALLY Passed!

I wish I could have written this on the day it was announced but I was suffering major connection difficulties (I had to cope with very little WiFi for seven days... it's easier said than done!) but alas, I am writing it now - better late than never. If you live near a TV or radio I trust you would've heard the news that the Marriage (same-sex) bill passed royal assent with the Queen signing it off as 'one of the most important documents she's ever signed' thus allowing couples of the same gender to be recognised as 'married' under the eyes of the law. It could be argued that the government only did it to boost votes but it doesn't matter because finally common sense has prevailed over bigotry. Halle-freaking-lujah!

It was uplifting to see so many people, gay and straight, showing clear support for the bill which was long overdue. The second reading in the House of Commons won a large majority of 400-175 in favour after it was put to a vote and 366-161 after the third reading. The House of Lords also surprisingly showed clear support for the bill with 72% in favour during the second reading and on the 17th July it received Royal Assent becoming The Marriage (Same-Sex) Act 2013 - I like to think of it as a late birthday present.

Now I really don't want to be a pessimist and take away from the occasion because I for one wholeheartedly welcomed it, but just because gay marriage has become law in this country doesn't mean we've made it to the ultimate goal of equality. In a country which likes to boast a modern way of thinking, it still had people who opposed the bill on seemingly outdated reasons. The cliche religious excuses emerged including 'it undermines the sanctity of marriage', 'marriage is between a man and a woman' and 'it says in the bible that God didn't like gays so we can't let them marry!'.

If you look further afield, in the USA there are still 37 states that do not allow couples of the same gender to marry and the American Supreme Court only just overturned the Defense of Marriage Act last month. In a supposedly liberal France there was some rioting in the capital after the country announced such marriage had become law - with a French historian committing suicide in the Notre Dame Cathedral in an act of protest. In Uganda there is a bill currently going through their parliament dubbed the 'Kill The Gays' bill in which they plan to use capital punishment against those convicted of 'aggravated homosexuality' and life imprisonment for first-time offenders. The accomplishment of gay marriage in that country looks a life time away.

There is no doubt that this is a major victory for the LGBT community and for those who, gay or straight, seek marriage equality. I am content with the knowledge that in the future if I wish to get married I may, but in other countries people are being arrested and imprisoned and even killed for something they cannot help or change. Those who publicly condemn this treatment of homosexuals and support gay rights are hunted down and beaten for holding these views. Governments and communities in developing countries indoctrinate the next generation of children into believing gay men caused HIV, and all of them are infected with this illness. They argue all gay men are paedophiles and will pray on little children so it's best that you alienate them from your community in the name of protecting the young. This homophobia isn't just in third world countries, in the USA any male scout leader who comes out as gay is sacked on the spot because there is still this ludicrous belief that they are trying to harm children. It's heartbreaking to know that if I was born in one of these third world countries I'd be suffering the same barbaric homophobia and you, if you support equal marriage, could also be imprisoned for believing in equality.

However I am honestly delighted that this bill survived all the stages to get to royal assent because it appears that, after the Supreme Court struck down DOMA, things are starting to change for the better. He split his party on this topic and went against the Conservative party's ideology but I am also happy with what David Cameron has done and I never thought I'd say that! But... we've still got a long way to go yet.

I leave you with this music video by American rapper Macklemore (it's not a secret to people who know me in saying that he's pretty much my God). The song is called 'Same Love' and it concerns equal marriage in the USA but many of the points he raises are just as relevant throughout the world. By releasing this song Macklemore became one of the very first rappers to publicly back gay marriage and with more people like this guy, the world would be a much better place. (Look out for him, he's near the end of the video holding a sparkler).


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Friday, 5 July 2013

Katie Hopkins - I Judge Children Based On Their Name

Katie Hopkins
I am in utter disbelief right now. If you haven't watched the clip of Katie Hopkins on This Morning then I advise you do (I'll add the link at the bottom of this post) because you'll probably acquire the same feelings I have about her. To outline the basics of what was said, Katie Hopkins openly and unashamedly admitted she judges children based on their name and would not let her daughters play with any child she believed to be of a lower class. She outlined the name 'Tyler' in particular and justified her comments saying 'you need to make fast decisions for your children' and 'children who have intelligent names tend to have more intelligent parents and will therefore make better play dates for my children'. She also said she had a problem with children being called names that represented beauty when she found them to be unattractive, and when asked if she would allow her own to interact with these children she answered she already had two ugly kids so there was no problem. She then shot herself in the foot when saying she didn't like geographical location names like Brooklyn despite the fact her daughter is called India (she claimed India was not related to the geographical location). Understandably her astounding viewpoint was met with heavy criticism from the presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, This Morning guest Anna Mangan and users on many social networking sites - and quite rightly so. I think I speak on behalf of about 90% of people in this country in saying what a horrible, vindictive woman. It's bizarre how one can act upon such prejudices based on nothing more than a name, and the way she delivered her opinions in such a smug and pompous manner could make even the nicest person in the world's blood boil.

Holly's expression sums up the
It isn't the first time this woman has been criticised for her treatments of others. Whilst competing on the BBC show The Apprentice, she labelled another contestant as a 'dog', one as a 'wench', another a 'limpet' (sea snail), and hoped one of her team-mate would get run over. It wouldn't surprise me if this woman hasn't said anything nice in her entire lifetime. What made me laugh a little was the fact Katie Hopkins ran (unsuccessfully thank God) for MEP in a south west English constituency. It's insane to think a woman of such callous and cruelty would attempt to represent good, honest people. Also, I don't mean to drag up the past - I'm joking, I do - but Katie Hopkins was caught by the paparazzi having sexual intercourse with a married man... in a field (alleged to be her third affair with a married man). Clearly money and status doesn't buy class and she would be the last person I took advice or opinions from.

Now to address what she's saying, don't get me wrong it's a lie to say that no one has made assumptions based on a child's name (I have) but to say you'd practically outcast them without even knowing who they are and what they stand for is disgraceful. My name isn't common so I don't know what category I'd fall into but assuming it was perceived as working-class, who is she to decide whether I'm worthy enough to interact with her daughters? The rate she's going, most working-class families won't want their children playing with hers' never mind the other way around. Just because one kid is called Gideon doesn't make them any better than a kid called Tyler - it's what type of person that child will become that counts for anything.

Says it all...
It's truly disgusting what Katie Hopkins said today because she's completely and utterly wrong, and how dare she say certain children are not worthy to play with her daughters. I completely agree with Anna Mangan (a fellow guest on the show) who hit back saying 'I can't believe you're such an insufferable snob. Categorising children based on their name is cruel, snooty and unkind'. This woman is clearly an attention seeking (insert profanity) as appearing on The Apprentice and being a back up on Big Brother was not enough limelight for her. She has made a true mockery of herself today showing what a nasty, despicable (I've run out of adjectives) person she is and I just cannot believe someone would be so shallow in addressing innocent children. What an absolute disgrace of a person.

If you haven't seen it:


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Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Church Of England To Take Over Thousands Of State Schools

Michael Gove
I know I was Michael Gove bashing yesterday but I couldn't ignore his recent deal with the Church of England to allow them the power to run thousands of state schools. Forget teachers, I think about 90% of the population have lost faith in Gove and his radical policies. After announcing earlier in the week that he wished for certain types of schools to be managed like a business, he has revealed today that a deal has been made between him and the Church of England. This deal, as said, allows the church to take control of state schools and also for bishops to appoint governors. The reason for this unpopular deal is centered around Gove's belief that the church can raise educational standards and he wants to help them 'recover the spirit which infused it's education mission in Victorian times'.

I'll say first and foremost that religion should not be in charge of education, it's as simple as that. It doesn't take a genius to realise that Christianity and other religions (except Islam) are in clear decline and society is becoming increasingly secular, so why does Gove think increasing religious influence over education is a good and progressive move? The fact that he's trying to revitalise a community 'spirit' that dates back to the Victorian era shows how out of touch his policies are. You do not need religion to increase the quality of education in schools - good teachers and facilities can do this. I'm skeptical at how the process of appointing governors will remain impartial when those who are carry it out are bishops. Not to offend anyone but surely it would be naive to think there wouldn't be any hidden agenda when selecting candidates - the more religious the better? Why doesn't Gove focus on what the actual problem is within education - the lack of funding, poor facilities and the lack of interest from young people to name a few - instead of introducing religion? Yes it may have worked in the Victorian era but if it escaped your knowledge Gove, we're over 100 years past that point.

The Archbishop of Canterbury
welcomes the idea.
He also said that the Church could help children from chaotic families gain stability and instill order and discipline. Again, with the right type of teachers and support systems in place this could be done without the inclusion of faith. This is purely my own opinion but I believe religion can sometimes be used to indoctrinate vulnerable children who haven't be taught to effectively analyse theories and therefore view faith as fact. I don't agree with religion having a stronger influence in education because, aside from religious studies, it has no place. It has no place in politics, it has no place in education and it has no place in the health system (in terms of staff) because not everyone believes it.

I have no confidence in Michael Gove whatsoever because I've failed to agree with any one of his policies. Reverting to an out-of-date system is... stupid and I really can't see this ending well.


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