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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edZjdgU0asM


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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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