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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Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Michael Gove - The Educational Car Crash Waiting To Happen.

Michael Gove
It was leaked to the press yesterday that the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, is planning to make free schools and academies 'profit-making businesses' using venture capitalists and hedge funds. With this news, I'd like to make an arguably accurate guess that a good majority of teachers working in state education have lost all confidence and faith in this man. I'm no teacher (obviously) but even I can see the fairly obvious problems in his proposals - class inequality being the most important. It's common sense that if a school or academy is not, or never will make profit then businesses and venture capitalists will not invest, because why would you waste your money on a project that will give you nothing in return? Therefore schools from deprived areas, that attract fewer high performing students, will NOT get adequate funding and will thus continue to fail. It appears to many that the interest of a child's education is now less important than the profit generated through investment.

It's not the first time Gove has proposed policies that have lacked public backing. Previously, he suggested that school days should be longer (opening at 8:30am and finishing at 4:30pm) and school holidays should be shorter (approximately 4 weeks long) saying it would benefit working families. However if you look at other European countries like Germany, who's school days are significantly shorter, there is no evidence to suggest a negative impact on the child's education because of this. Independent schools who also have more term holidays than state school said that this change is completely unnecessary and pointless as there is again no evidence to prove that making school days longer and holidays shorter will benefit a pupil's education. The problem I have with this proposal is the teachers. There have already been talks of increasing their retirement age to their late 60s, cutting pensions and implementing a 1% pay rise limit, and now Michael Gove is trying to increase their working hours and cut their holiday time. These teachers devote time and effort into hundreds of students who are the next generation of workers and all they get is cut after cut after cut. To make matters worse the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority have recommended a potential £10,000 pay rise for MPs while the rest of the public sector feel the full force of George Osbourne's 2013 budget.
An NUT Protest

Whilst I admire Gove for not sitting on his backside and agree when some say at least he's trying to reform the education system, his ideas are wrong. Rather than encouraging progression and modernisation, Gove seems fixated on resurrecting previous systems that were a success in his mind. The fact that there have been three votes of no confidence against him must scream out to the cabinet that his proposals are simply unwelcome. As for making certain schools into businesses, I think it's ridiculous. It's wrong to treat something as precious as a child's education as a money-making scheme for investors because there will always be some that get less funding that others - in most cases it'll be the working-class children who are at an instant disadvantage. If this goes ahead, it could be a very slippery slope and I can't see it being a risk worth taking.


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Monday, 1 July 2013

Westboro Baptist Church To Picket One Direction Concert

One Direction
Back to business and I've just read that the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) are planning to picket a One Direction concert in Kansas as they believe the pop group are 'crotch-grabbing little perverts and are the perfect representation of this filthy world'. The church (or should I say cult?) also went onto attack the UK calling it a sin-chasing, fag-enabling, Christ-rejecting country - clearly still a bit miffed off at being denied entry into our borders to preach their lunacy. They've even taken the time to create a parody version of the single 'One Thing' preaching something along the lines of "God hates you unless you obey and you aren't gay".

Ah Westboro, there are so many things I could say about you and your deluded family that it's difficult to know where to begin. I struggle to understand how intelligent people can arrive at such insane conclusions of the world and the people that live in it. I say intelligent because some of the members have proved to be academically gifted in subjects like law (which obviously helps them avoid punishment in the courts) and have studied at a high educational standard. Yet they stand there holding placards vowing for American soldiers to be killed in action and thanking God for the deaths of innocent children, placing blame on the USA for accepting homosexuality and abortion both socially and legally. How anyone with a heart or an ounce of empathy can stand at a brave serviceman's funeral in front of their family, friends and collegues and say they are delighted this person, who they don't even know, is dead is beyond me. It's vile and disgusting behaviour which undermines the true purpose of the First Amendment that is freedom of speech.

The New Generation Of Hate?
While they have become a laughing stock to the rest of the Western world, it's the children I feel sorry for the most as they may not know it yet, but they are being indoctrinated into believing hateful opinions as truth. Their own parents are teaching them that it's good to hate people, it's good to hate gays, it's good to hate Jews, it's good to wish death on someone, it's good to be a disgusting, immoral human being all in the name of God. I watched a Louis Theroux documentary about them and one of the young sons had been coached into using homophobic language which he later relayed on camera whilst being interviewed. This kid looked no older than 10, yet he was expressing medieval opinions as if they were his own in order to please his father.

These people aren't even people in my eyes. They are animals who take pleasure in hurting and offending because clearly they were never loved as a child. They're like parasites that feed off media attention which allows them to spread their message of hate and think it's 'God's will' when the legal system rules in their favour in order to uphold the First Amendment. Whilst it's amusing, even for me, to listen to their ridiculous claims - like calling Barack Obama the anti-Christ - it's the children who are cause for concern.

I understand that the First Amendment and democracy must be upheld, but these people are getting away with wishing death on servicemen, homosexuals and basically anyone who isn't in their church and that is not what democracy is all about. As for the One Direction concert, I reckon they should go for it but they should bear in mind it's their 100 church members versus about half a million devoted directioners. My money is on the 12 year old girls.


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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A Landmark Victory for the LGBT Community - DOMA and Proposition 8 Overturned.

The Supreme Court Logo
I was scouting the internet looking for research as I was just about to begin a blog on the One Direction Vs The Wanted 'feud' when I read that the US Supreme Court had overturned the Defence Of Marriage Act (which bans same-sex marriage) ruling it unconstitutional. Most of you may not know what DOMA was, as I didn't, but this decision is a huge milestone for the LGBT community and has contributed greatly towards marriage equality. They also ruled today that the Proposition 8 case had no legal standing to appeal against the same-sex marriage ruling in California, allowing it to resume and for gay couples to be legally marriage in the state.

So what exactly is DOMA? It was a controversial ruling, which took effect in 1996, that opposed same-sex married couples to be granted certain legal rights which heterosexual couples had - including tax exemptions, social security benefits and green cards. Section 3 of the Act also stated that the word 'marriage' only meant the union between a man and a woman and the spouse must be a member of the opposite sex, thus blocking federal recognition of same-sex marriage. This was today deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

What about this California Proposition 8 overruling? What's that I hear you ask? The background story to this proposition was that in 2008 California ruled in favour of allowing same-sex couples to get married, but some people (naturally) opposed this and devised a way to block the ruling from taking effect - hello Proposition 8.  Basically Proposition 8 was a ballot asking the Californian electorate to answer 'yes' or 'no' on whether they believe their state should eliminate the right for gay couples to marry. The result were that 52% voted yes and 48% voted no. Fast-forward all the legal jargon... to put it simply, this vote overruled the recent law allowing gay marriage in that state and therefore it became illegal again. However today the Supreme Court said that this was also unconstitutional saying it unfairly discriminated against gay couples who wanted to marry, and as such all gay marriages that took place before Proposition 8 will now be fully recognised in the eyes of the law. If you followed all that, well done.

Love is love.
Whilst all this can be really confusing (and trust me, it took a good half an hour to get the gist of all the different ruling and appeals and what act did what) it's a double landmark victory for the LGBT community. One day, maybe, we can finally all be equal for being who we are. This act was blocking basic rights to people who just happened to be in love with someone of the same gender. Long-distance couples couldn't live in the same country because they weren't recognised as an actual couple and therefore couldn't gain a visa. Married gay couples could not be recognised as the next of kin to each other and as such lost many legal benefits if one partner was to pass away, the list goes on and on.

It really does amaze me how this act has been allowed to stand for so long when America claims to be a country that accepts homosexuality. It's also sad to hear that, whilst this ruling did come through, it did so only marginally - with a vote of 5-4. There are only 13 states in America that allow two loving adults of the same-sex to get married and form a union under law. The day that we all live side-by-side equal, regardless of skin colour, gender, age or sexuality is still so far away, but this victory is hopefully one of many to come in helping us achieve this goal. Love is love regardless of what gender, and today many gay people in America and elsewhere can have their heads' held high because it's a long-overdue step in the right direction.


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Sunday, 2 June 2013

Why Does The England Squad Never Win Anything?

I know many people say that we have to stop heaping pressure onto the England squad when they draw or lose matches because they are not as good as our nation and the FIFA rankings makes them out to be. However watching tonight's England V Brazil friendly, it would be understandable to say that we would struggle to qualify for the next World Cup if we play like we did in the first half. It says a lot when you have a squad of 11 Premier League quality players and your best player for 45 minutes is your goalkeeper - Joe Hart. I understand that many key players like Wilshere, Cleverely and Sturridge were ruled out as injured, so there's an argument that England were playing with a much weaker team - but is that an excuse?

Glen Johnson is at best - average.
There are players in the team that play for the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal - top quality teams playing at a competitive level, two include Champions League football, yet some looked like they were playing for a Sunday League team. How Glen Johnson gets an international call-up is beyond me, he's slow, he cannot hold his line and doesn't seem to be able to pass a ball. I know that Kyle Walker was also ruled out due to injury but if this is the second best right-back our country has to offer then we've got a problem. Another player that I was disappointed with was Michael Carrick - a Champions League winner with Man United. Yet with England he had trouble keeping hold of the ball, giving possession up on so many occasions and struggled to pick out any decent passes. He may not be an England regular but he has failed to show any real spark when playing at international standard. James Milner is another one who has failed to justify why he should have a place in the England squad, my theory being he's only there because of so many injured team-mates. The first half of tonight's game he was virtually none existent going forward and when he did get the ball, he either passed it back to Baines or lost possession - as you can tell, I'm not a fan (I actually groaned when I saw his name in the line-up).
James Milner is ineffective.

As said in many tabloids and media outlets, one of England's problems is that they aren't technically gifted enough and I think this is true to a certain extent. I'm not saying that the players should be playing like Barcelona with their tiki-taka tactics but it's so infuriating when these supposedly world class players cannot string four or five passes together and the quality is, to put it nicely, sloppy. The only way we can beat players is do a 'kick and run' down the wings, which defenders with pace can easily deal with. Our tactics in the first 20 minutes of tonight's game was for Hart to pass it out to one of his defenders, for them to pass it forward, then to be passed back to the defence (if we didn't actually lose possession), all the way back to Hart to be booted up field and Brazil to mount another attack.

Should youngsters get more opportunities?
I'm not naive and understand that England are simply not good enough to look like serious contenders to win the World Cup but I feel that the team needs to start being revolutionised. What I mean by this is to start shifting out all the dead weights and OAPs (like Defoe) in the team and start bringing in a new generation of English players. We have won nothing since 1996 and we have not looked like winning anything for a number of years so why do we insist on picking the same players and the same formation when it is not working? I reiterate the argument made by many fans in that I believe players should be picked based on their performance at club level and not whether they play for Man United or any other top club. Take Danny Welbeck for example (although he's injured now) selected to travel to Brazil although he scored a grand total of 2 goals in his 2012-13 season. How can a striker, who's job is to find the back of the net yet only scored 2, deserve an international call-up over other English strikers like Ricky Lambert - who scored more than double Welbeck's total.

I will cut them a little bit of slack in that it is the end of the season and there will be some tired legs but the quality has been the same for many years - some players just don't step up to the occasion and perform. The only player I could argue who is of true world class quality is, expectedly, Jack Wilshere and until we start producing players of similar quality we will not win anything.


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Monday, 27 May 2013

Woolwich Tragedy - The EDL Rear Their Ugly Head

Lee Rigby
Today, on this Bank Holiday Monday, many decent people went out to pay tribute to the fallen soldier Lee Rigby who was savagely murdered last week in Woolwich - for others, an opportunity to use his death as a means of street violence and fascism. Yes, I'm talking about the infamous 'street protest movement' English Defence League (EDL) headed by half-wit Tommy Robinson (aka. Stephen Lennon). Approximately 1000 EDL members marched through London in a pathetic attempt to gain publicity for their right-wing agenda and stir up racial tension between the two communities.

I'm just going to start off by saying I think it's disgusting how this fascist and frankly racist thug group would use the devastating death of a young soldier to further their support and publicity. Today was a day for people to pay their respects, mourn Lee Rigby's death and offer support for his family and other families involved in the Help for Heroes charity so what do the EDL do? Take to the streets with their childish placards and their unimaginative chants of 'E-E-EDL' causing a massive police operation to keep order and control. Really well done guys (!)

Tommy Robinson
So let's just look at the wonderful chap Tommy Robinson who represents and sets an example for all the other members of the EDL. Robinson reportedly served a 12-month custodial sentence in 2005 for assaulting an off-duty police officer who was intervening in a domestic incident between Robinson and his wife - classy guy. He was then convicted in 2011 for 'threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour' and banned from all football matches for 3 years after being involved in a 100-man brawl... again I couldn't think of anyone better to lead the English Defence League. Fast-forward a couple of months and he was arrested for breaching his bail and, being the political activist he is, started a hunger strike believing the prison meat to be halal (it surprisingly only lasted a day). Anyway, last but by no means least, he was arrested again in 2011 for common assault after headbutting a fellow EDL member (you can't make this stuff up) at a protest in Blackburn, which just to add is unfortunately the town I live in.

The EDL protesting today
So the EDL wish to be taken seriously by the government as a type of pressure group and who better than to lead them to this goal? A deluded, petty criminal who reckons himself to be a hard-man football hooligan/political activist who's been selected as the chosen one to take back England from the ghastly 'Muslim infidels' ... what an absolute t*t.

Back to the protest, and with these things it goes without saying that they end in some form of violence. The EDL and UAF (Unite Against Fascism) threw glass bottles at each other and the police, protesters were heard shouting anti-Muslim chants including 'who the f**k is Allah', some threatened a man wearing a Palestinian scrarf with a stick and a total of 19 were arrested with 12 charged. Two war memorials were also defaced with the word 'Islam' (although it is not clear which party was responsible).

A young girl pays tribute to the fallen soldier
It does amaze me however how Tommy Robinson had the cheek beforehand to say 'this is a day of respect for our armed forces'. No Tommy, it really wasn't. If you wanted to respect the armed forces then you would've gone to Lee Rigby's memorial and laid flowers down like all the other decent people, and not took to the street to cause chaos and violence. No matter how much the EDL try to dress it up, no matter what cause they stand for, they are racist and fascist in my opinion. You only have to look at what some of their members are saying on Facebook and Twitter to see where I am coming from. For example one member - Adam Rodgers - encouraged other members to burn down a local mosque... it's truly  disgusting. They aren't even wanted by the people they were supposedly paying their respects to today! Help for Heroes actually cancelled a march because it was believed the EDL were trying to take part so what sort of message is that sending out because it's not exactly painting them in a positive light?

It's time the EDL realised that the majority of this country that they so wish to defend do not want them and condone everything they stand for. Today was not about Tommy Robinson or the EDL, it was about a good decent man who served his country and (I'd guess) would not want his name to be used as an excuse for ignorant racism. Lee Rigby had done more to defend this country than Tommy Robinson has ever done and the sooner he and the EDL disappear, the better.


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Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Woolwich Tragedy Is No Excuse For Racism

Lee Rigby
I doubt many people living in England right now are unaware of the sadistic and barbaric attack which took place yesterday in Woolwich, London. For those who don't (and without going into too much detail as it was truly horrific) a man identified as 25 year old Lee Rigby was brutally murdered by two Islamic extremists in what is understood to be a terrorist attack - the first since the July 2005 bombings. What those two men did is utterly disturbing and horrendous and my thoughts go out to Mr. Rigby's relatives in such a sad time.

However, as you may have guessed from the title, this post doesn't focus solely on this appalling attack but also the reaction of the British people following the news, including some of the most racist and bigoted comments I have ever come across. With tensions already high with regards to immigration and our membership in the European Union, this event seemed to be the spark that set off an endless tirade of hate and xenophobia, so I wish to address the first elephant in the room - the attackers are Muslim. Yes, they are... but so are two million other people living peacefully in Britain at the minute, so are they all the same? No.

The Two Attackers
It's cliche to use the phrase 'don't tar them all with the same brush' but there is no other appropriate phrase that springs to mind. I don't wish to insult anyone but in my opinion it shows a limited degree of intelligence and twice the amount of ignorance to assume that two million people who follow an identical faith behave in the same way as these two animals. If we could just take a step back from all the hype and hysteria to think about what we're saying about other human beings then I hope, for the sake of humanity, that we can understand that it is wrong.

I shall share this story with you. Two weeks ago, a 75 year old Pakistani man was murdered with a machete in Birmingham by a white man, which was understood to be a racially motivated attack. Now, are all white people racist based on the actions of this man? No? So why are people quite happy to make the same generalisations against British Muslims? If you want someone to vent your hate and disgust at then look no further than the two monsters who took away the father of a two year old child for no reason whatsoever.

Racism seen on my Facebook
What I also find repulsive is how people like the BNP (British National Party) leader Nick Griffin used this tragedy to fuel their bigoted agenda to gain more support and votes. Griffin took to Twitter stating that this attack was due to mass immigration - obviously ignorant to the fact that the attacker Michael Adebolajo was born in London. He then went on to say that he'd be happy to go back onto BBC Question Time which, to me, implied that he would use the death of an innocent solider to spout his racist rubbish in a bid to win votes. Moreover, the EDL (English Defence League) took the opportunity to 'protest' in the streets which ended in the destruction of a mosque and random Asian bystanders being attacked.
There's enough here for you to read as it is without me adding another 5 paragraphs about my feelings towards the BNP and EDL so I shall just say that I condemn their reactions and everything they stand for.

What happened yesterday has shook our country. It's heartbreaking to have a young, brave serviceman murdered in a place where he was supposed to feel save. But we MUST stand together and show extremists that we - black, white or asian - will never succumb to their terror and brutality. Stand united and we are strong, stand divided and we will lose.

I leave you with a quote:
"When there are no enemies within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you" - Winston Churchill.


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Monday, 15 April 2013

The Growing Epidemic Of Female Genital Mutilation

A young girl being operated on
I've learned about many barbaric and cruel procedures done against other human-beings - examples like lobotomy, trepanning to rid 'evil spirits', and blood letting. But there is a common pattern with these, with the exception of lobotomy, and it's that these were all done in medieval times. But then you come across 'female genital mutilation', an unnecessary operation done to girls of a commonly young age, all in the name of culture. Girls as young as five have a blade taken to their genitals having parts removed, usually without aesthetic, because it's 'tradition'. I'm all for respecting other people's cultures but I cannot understand how any person would believe this isn't wrong or some form of child abuse because that is exactly what it is.

It's incredibly saddening to hear that around 95% of girls living in parts of Africa, like Somalia, have had this disgusting operation done to them. When asked for reasoning for cutting children, many different 'justifications' were given, due to variations in culture, like 'it reduces a woman's libido' or 'it ensures sexual abstinence because the genital area is only opened up after marriage' - basically such procedure is, in most cases, done to oppress the girl's sexual activity in later life.
But they are just children for goodness sake. A mother's concerns should be whether they have enough toys or what primary school they are going to attend, not which doctor they're going to hire to cut up their child. I'm not a parent but common sense would indicate that a mother's role should be to protect their child at all costs and to sit there and allow and even encourage unnecessary pain and agony on your child is wrong.

What's more worry is that there's a growing trend in flying doctors from other countries into the UK so these operations can be conducted on the kitchen tables, and living-room floors of people's houses. This will never be accepted into the culture of the vast majority living in the UK and something must be done, some law must be past to make it a very serious criminal offence. In France they have already created a strong opposition to this sort of practice with one individual going to jail for eight years for their involvement in one case. I think it is wise to adopt the same strategy in the UK because you can dress it up any way you like, but it is and always will be child abuse.

My message? Simple. Female genital mutilation, without medical reasoning, is wrong. It's disgusting and must be stopped. We cannot and should not stand by and watch the children of our country be abused and do nothing to help them.


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Friday, 12 April 2013

Hijacking For Your Own Personal Gain - Margaret Thatcher's 'Death Party'

Margaret Thatcher
Whilst the 'Margaret Thatcher death party' has not happened yet (as it is scheduled to take place on Saturday at Trafalgar Square, London) I am writing this in anticipation of the event. I do not wish to go into too much detail about those celebrating the death of the former Prime Minister, as Thatcher's reign has evidently split public opinion and I do not want that to be the main focus of this post. Instead I write about the speech vocalised by the London
Mayor - Boris Johnson discouraging any of those attending the 'party' from rioting, which will no doubt end in the destruction of property, looting and some individuals getting hurt or killed (as seen in the 2011 London riots). Why I write about this is because it annoys me that certain people would hijack an event or
cause (and I by no means condone the celebration of Thatcher's death - even though I was no fan of her's - I simply speak in general) for their own personal gain. Whether it be to deliberately cause social disorder or participate in looting, it is unfair to ruin the occasion for all the other attendees who are peaceful in their conduct.

Scenes during the London riots.
I saw this with the tuition fees protest in London about 2 years ago, when around 5% of those who attended, starting causing mayhem. Building windows were smashed, fires were started, flares were set off and in a few instances 'TORY SCUM' was spray-painted onto walls and poles. Of course, the media got wind of it and made it out to be that all the students who attended the event were violent hooligans. As a result, the actions of just those 5% of protesters caused the actual purpose of the march to be forgotten and the whole event seemed a waste of time.

So I use this upcoming event as a potential example of how a small minority's actions can effect the perception of an event, and I hope we will not see scenes similar to the tuition fees protest or the London riots. My message? Don't let the minority ruin it for the majority.


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Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Football Is So Much More Than A Game.

Scott Parker tackling Juan Mata
To many, including myself, football is not 'just a game'. In those 90 minutes so much can happen, so much emotion can be felt - the joy of scoring a goal, the horror of conceding in the dying seconds, the relief of saving a penalty (obviously if you're a goalkeeper), the anxiety of defending that last minute corner when you're one goal up. It annoys me when people, who clearly do not enjoy the game, make ignorant comments like 'it's really easy', 'it's just 11 men kicking a ball back and forth'. By that point I just want to plonk them down in front of a TV and show them a competitive football match - Barcelona would be a good choice. Tactics are much more prevalent in the game nowadays that it's almost become like a chess game, you've always got to be one step ahead of your opponent - you either match them or better them. But when you hear the final whistle and you realise you've won the game (especially in important fixtures) no one can take away that feeling of euphoria and the slightly weird voice inside your head that's screaming 'OMG WE WON! DUDE, WE ACTUALLY WON! HOW CRAZY IS THIS!!' - (Just me?... just me). But hell, I don't care because every Sunday to me will always be 'game day' and the little butterflies in my stomach is just one of the feelings I experience every time that first whistle blows and I wouldn't have it any other way.


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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The First Youth Crime Commissioner Resigns

Paris Brown
To start off, I’ve never even heard of a ‘Youth Crime Commissioner’ but the appointment of Paris Brown has been an embarrassing affair for all the parties involved. What gets me is why was she appointed in the first place because she’s surely not the best our generation can offer? And it’s not like we’re getting enough positive press these days, what with the London riots and about a gazillion pictures of drunk students partying in the streets splashed all over the papers (DailyMail especially) with the headlines ABSOLUTE DISGRACE! The introduction of a well-educated articulate 17 year old with a passion to make a difference could have placed doubt in the minds of those believing  all teenagers are thick, drugged-up sex addicts  roaming the streets every night with a 2 litre bottle of cider in one hand and a knife in the other. Instead they appoint this girl – suggested to be racist and homophobic and stupid enough to brag about her drug and alcohol consumptions on Twitter, in the run up to her appointment. Way to perpetuate an already negative generalisation of our generation (!) If they do appoint another person (she recently resigned) then I hope it will be someone who fully deserves it and has worked hard for it.


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