Why is there more outrage against Clarkson’s suspension by the BBC than against human suffering right here in Britain?

When the suspension of an outspoken Television presenter and celebrity causes more outrage than human suffering, know that something is very wrong. Like really wrong.

The Media madness in support of Jeremy Clarkson doesn’t always happen. When was the last time you heard of 700,000 people signing a petition on anything of real importance? Within 24 -36 hours?

Already Change.org have reported that this petition is the fastest growing in their entire history, and while writing this article, between page reloads today, I’ve seen a ~59,000 leap in the number of signatures.

It’s practically unheard of.  And if we are to be honest, Clarkson has shown the misplaced priorities of the 21st Century. That an issue of a suspended violent, racist, cheating and generally unpleasant character, is taken a lot more seriously than real issues affecting humanity. Issues such as Wars, Poverty, and in the UK disability housing, violence against women and dare I say asylum seekers.

Take this petition on Sum Of Us for example, which claims that the UK government has awarded an NHS contract to a private firm linked to scandal hit MP Malcolm Rifkind. But that the winning bid will actually cost the NHS more than a bid from local NHS services! Seven million bloody pounds cheaper! (different sources: The Mirror & Buzzfeed) Why is it that for a petition that has been around for at least 14 days, only 69,787 people have signed it? Does it mean that the issue of the NHS being practically auctioned-off is of less importance? Or is it because the mainstream media doesn’t like to talk about such things? And in this context, is Clarkson’s reinstatement a greater priority than wastefulness within the NHS?

I’ll tell you what’s happening.

Last week, a report was published by a little known group of cross-party MPs and Peers outlining the ways in which foreign Nationals are treated by the Home Office and its contractors (companies like Serco) in detention centres. It coincided with Channel 4’s revealing expose, about the shocking attitudes of some of the guards at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre.

Predictably, the story received very little news coverage in the media, and appeared to have been shunned. This indifference is by now well-rehearsed. And it doesn’t matter that foreign nationals were mistreated so appallingly. The summary reaction from the media is that it’s not news, it’s not important, who cares, f*** off!

Guido Fawkes, the popular right-wing blog which in some respects is the home of political scandal , and whose author has fronted the Clarkson campaign (complete with around 10 posts on his blog about Jeremy Clarkson) didn’t even mention Channel 4’s expose, let alone the detention centre report.

What such reactions say is that it is okay to be horrible, racist, violent, an insensitive schemer, to cheat on partners. If you are skilled or have a reputation – on which millions of pounds hang, you can still receive plenty of support, and get to keep your job, your plush lifestyle the whole lot – so long as you are on the right side of the political spectrum. Imagine what young people in their teens will make of it if Clarkson returned with all his whiskers intact?

Don’t get me wrong. I watch Top gear, every season of it. I enjoy the banter on the show, and like the trio of them. I think you’d enjoy a night out with them in a social gathering.  Over the years, I’ve read the magazine a couple of times and while I’m not what you would describe as a hardcore fan, I’m nevertheless a fan. Like many Top Gear fans, I’ve overlooked many of Clarkson’s silly and distasteful utterances over the years, and yes he is very funny in an ape kind of way.

I believe everyone deserves a second chance.

But Jeremy Clarkson has used up all his spare cat-lives. He’s had his second, third, fourth chances… and now he’s just having his cake and eating it because he knows he can almost always get away with it.

The Change.org petition is no more than a right-wing protest at the unlikely admonishment of their overgrown middle-aged poster child. The kind of people who would find these scantily clad Nazi Dancers funny; who attend parties hosted by rich tax-dodging non-domiciled status types  concerned only about profit; people who sympathise with Farage and his racist cohorts; the kind who are accustomed to blaming Polish, Romanians, Bulgarians migrants, and ethnic minorities for every f**king problem the UK faces. It’s becoming more fashionable to be that bigoted, sexist, racist person.

What’s sad is that there are some naive people who have joined this chorus. These pawns do not know of the underground agenda at play and have not connected the dots around the narrative that the media coverage is being provided by a powerful right-wing lobby with the result that the issue is gaining unprecedented news coverage, leading to thousands of signatures. They’ve simply been blinded by their love of the fantastic show, and have jumped onto the bandwagon, proclaiming their support for Clarkson, as if he were some kind of saint. St Jeremy Clarkson of Chipping Norton. Sweet.

But what really happened?

I think someone at the BBC was trying to cover it up, obviously because of the large sums of money at stake. We wouldn’t have known had the victim,Oisin Tymon, remained silent. I suspect that it was only after Oisin threatened legal action (perhaps after a deal to keep it under the lid failed) if something wasn’t done about the ‘fracas’ by the BBC that it became apparent that it couldn’t be contained within the news corporation. That’s when the suspension came, and now we have a runaway petition.

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What does one make of #Paedogate?

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/06/britain-s-horrific-vip-pedophile-cover-up.html

Life is costly. Food, housing, transportation, relationships, children, everything has a price tag. Well, almost everything.

Even knowing is costly. When you read any article or publication, there’s a mental process going on in your head which determines how you come away from the material you consume. You can choose to engage or ignore that process which causes you to decide what position to take regarding the matter. Its entirely up to you, I think.

But its going on in the background.

You can come away thinking: Oh well, just another story. Or you could think Really, did that really happen?

And at the extreme end of this continuum, Shit !.

What gets me mildly worked out is when my mind refuses to believe what I’ve just read. When it says BS, I’m not 5 years old. I can’t believe such nonsense.

Preconceptions exists in all our minds. And most people, whether they admit it or not, have or have had at some point Unconscious bias towards one thing or another dancing freely in their minds. It takes a bit of work to be objective, unassuming, impartial.

I like to believe certain things I read. But like most people I’ve got preconceptions against other things.

One example here is GMO foods. You can hogtie me and shove nasty things into any of my orifices, the chances are I won’t change my mind about it. That’s how strong the prejudice is. But it’s an informed prejudice that considers the science.

Another is religion. Due to a complicated set of circumstances and experiences, I’ve made up my mind about the issue.

So, while I have shifted my position on various things, there are some no go zones.

But when it comes to those things where your brain says no, while at the same time trying to find a way to  know what really went on. To internalise whether there was a cover-up, or not.  Did the authorities know about so and so and their actions, or didn’t they know. If they knew why didn’t they do something about it. What if some of those who could have acted to stop the abuse and prosecute the paedos genuinely thought it was speculation that had no merit?. What if they were just being British? A sordid and blighted mixture of apathy, detachment and the quintessentially British stiff upper lip. That the complaints were largely slanderous, from people who wanted to taint the public figures concerned. People from the ‘lower classes’. Scumtrash.

Not this time  around.

The authorities knew everything, and they were either determined to put a firm lid on it, or simply didn’t care about the victims.

Egypt: An “elected” regime which imprisons innocent journalists and murders unarmed protesters & activists

A few years ago, a woman, Nedā Āghā-Soltān, was shot dead in Tehran amidst a peaceful protest against the results of the 2009 Iranian presidential elections in which  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been re-elected. As would be expected in such circumstances, the world was outraged and criticised Iran as pictures of the murdered woman emerged.

Fast forward 5+ years later, history seems to have repeated itself. A very similar scenario occured in January this year in Cairo, Egypt, when Shaimaa el-Sabbagh, a 31-year-old mother who was a pro-democracy activist, was shot dead while walking towards Tahrir square. El Sabbagh wanted to lay a wreath of roses remembering the hundreds of people who died from police/army gunfire since the beginning of the Arab Spring in 2011. An honourable symbol to honour the matryrs of the Arab Spring. Unfortunately, Tahrir square had been cordoned off by the Egyptian military, but instead of the authorities allowing an unarmed civilian to go through and lay a wreath, they murdered her. Forcefully depriving her 5 year old child of a mother.

Osama Hammam, a photographer who was covering the protest, described how security forces started firing teargas and shotguns at the protest without warning. In his post to Human Rights Watch (chronicled in a story about the murder here), he says:

“The demonstration was simply 30 people carrying some roses, half of them were old guys, and the street was empty …. “And the police were on the sidewalk on the opposite side.”

According to the Guardian, the day before Sabbagh’s death, another female protester, 17-year-old Sondos Ridha, was also killed.

Curiously and somewhat predictably, while in 2009 a media storm erupted over Nedā’s murder, and while many western countries were quick to criticise Iran, there isn’t much in public rhetoric expressing outrage against Al Sisi. I don’t think the White House even issued a statement criticising the shooting.

So forgive me for asking, but what is the difference between the repression of innocent people by Ahmadinejad’s Iran in 2009, and the current tyranny we are witnessing today in Egypt? A tyranny that imprisons innocent journalists on the pretext of some sick political fantasy. A regime that went as far as banning the news media from discussing the case of Shaimaa el-Sabbagh. Why would they do that if they were innocent,and really acting in the interests of Egyptians?

Can you really claim that the actions that led to the murder were the kind of “Freedom” which the 2011 protesters at Tahrir square fought for (and since then thousands died for)?

I don’t think so.

All brutality must be condemned, irrespective of who is responsible, and where it happens? Because how can you legitimately claim the upper moral ground in the ‘war against terrorism’ and when attempting to undermine jihadists, when certain kinds of terrorism are being easily let off as justified, whereas other types are not? When the perpetrators of some kinds of terrorism are being protected…?

How does Sisi’s regime compare to the brutality of Mubarak’s Egypt, when even fellows at reputable think tanks believe Al Sisi is in fact worse than Mubarak? Doesn’t the support the US affords to Egypt’s current government amount to replacing one dictator with an other?

It doesn’t make sense. And if it did, then it would be dishonest, and wrong.

These politicians who think such a policy is sound will regret their actions. US Foreign Policy has gone mad. Like really mad. After all the disastrous actions of the last 2 decades, and the murderous vermin spawned, you’d have thought these guys will learn from their previous mistakes. But again and again, they have demonstrated that they never learn. Instead, it appears as though Western countries still think they can support oppressive ruthless regimes in North Africa and the middle east, but simultaneously claim to be torchbearers of Freedom and Democracy??

Hypocrisy of the worst kind, if not classic doublethink.

It’s not on. It will never work. It must end.

Speed Cameras vs Surveillance

SpeedCameras

Despite what some petrolheads would have you believe, speed cameras are useful things.

I know this because studies that have researched their efficacy say so. 🙂

Actually, let me correct that last sentence. One study from 2005 which I have read, which references to several other studies, and uses them as a basis to come to what I think is a sensible conclusion says so.

A bit of a mouthful, I know, but there you have it.

Since most people won’t be interested to read the study which I am refering to, nor will they browse through any similar research report, like this one here, then I think there’s one important bit from the 2005 study which would be worth remembering:

All studies reported a reduction in road traffic collisions and casualties. The reduction in adverse outcomes in the immediate vicinity of camera sites varied considerably across studies, with ranges of 5-69% for collisions, 12-65% for injuries, and 17-71% for deaths at camera sites. Smaller reductions in adverse outcomes were seen over a wider area.
Oh, one other thing. And this is mainly for those of you who need some perspective to this. An extra bite, the thought  in your  subconscious that quietly says “this research was conducted by human beings, and humans are not perfect, so this imperfect research must have some kind of limitation”. It has :-
Published research consistently shows the effectiveness of speed cameras in preventing road traffic collisions
and injuries. However, the level of evidence is relatively poor, and better data need to be collected to improve the evidence base.
 The researchers of the 2005 study are saying that the reason for better data is to improve the evidence base. They are not saying they need more data to disprove the fact that speed cameras are necessary. Why should they say that when most of us agree that speed cameras are essential for a safer society?
What most of us do not agree about is whether the mass surveillance that was recently ruled unlawful in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (a legal body tasked to look at the surveillance of British agencies) is essential for a safer society. I certainly think its the greatest lie ever washed upon mankind. It’s about control and power, and not about safety or security.
Now, we can argue till the cows come home about the extent, methods, level of, acceptable targets, ethics, regulation and other intricacies of mass surveillance. And frankly those kind of debates are tedious.
But I’ll make it easy for you with something a little bit more interesting.
Imagine if we all lived in glass houses where anyone could see through everyone’s house. No one was allowed to hide anything. No curtains, no blinds, no privacy, nothing. Why? Because of Security. If we can all see what everyone is doing, everywhere, at all times, then we’ll all be safe – says groupthink.
So, you’ve just walked into your bedroom, and looking straight through the glass wall you can see in your neighbour’s living room, his wife and kids watching television. At the time, he is in the shower on the first floor. You look up, and from a patch of clearing in the steam covered glass wall of his shower, his soapy face is staring straight down at you. With a massive grin that said:
“Hie there, I see you’ve just had breakfast. Instead of the original Kellogs Special K, you’ve gone for some cheap  German knock off from Aldi. Earlier today I also saw that after you took a shit, you forgot to dry your hands before opening your fridge with wet hands, then after aimlessly walking around your kitchen, you are now standing in your bedroom looking at my wife. I’m watching you”
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(***does the two finger and eyes I’m watching you sign***)
Would that be a kind of world you’d want to live in?
mass-surveillance - Copy