Oh those funny Syrians:
The long winter nights must just fly by.
Irish People, they no happy.
German woman, she make nasty article about Irish People in Swiss paper.
Cork 96FM, they translate article.
Irish People, they read translation.
You see, people like to herd themselves into groups and then they like to comment on other people in other groups and they often say nasty things about these other groups often based on certain typical behaviours. Now the people in the groups being commented on, they tend not to like that. So what do they do in response?
Exactly the same thing.
So we have a German person saying nasty things about the Irish in a Swiss paper and then we get the Irish people, in turn, saying nasty things about the Germans and Swiss.
I could get quite pissy at this point. I could point to a number of things that have happened to me and my family while in this Emerald Isle that point to the stereotypes that people have about the Irish and I could be very very pissy about it.
But I won’t.
Because I don’t believe that the answer to someone being an inconsiderate arse hat in my direction is to be an inconsiderate arse hat back.
I think that’s childish. It’s about Give and Take, ultimately. If you don’t want to take it don’t give it out. And if someone gives out to you, just take it. Otherwise we lead to escalation. And it all gets out of hand.
Do we need the two most neutral countries in Europe, Switzerland and Ireland, fighting each other?
Yesterday, the Essex Lion.
If you missed it a lion was reported loose in North Essex. Cue massive police presence, helicopters, thermal imaging, journalism gone wild and inevitable stereotyping of Essex.
Now I’m from Essex, North Essex, not far from where the lion was purported to be, born and raised. I don’t conform to those stereotypes. Most people I know don’t conform to them. The people who do tend to be from the London overspill part of South Essex and from London overspill generally, or if you watch Channel 4’s “Come Dine With Me” everywhere. To apply those stereotypes to the rest of Essex is like applying stereotypes based on Summerhill and Ballymun to the rest of Dublin; Incorrect and deliberately offensive.
Over the last few weeks there have been a few offence taking incidents from the Irish, the Daily Telegraph incorrectly said that Katie Taylor is British, cue massive Facebook and Social media hysteria and a quite honest apology from the Daily Telegraph which did little to allay the hysteria. Daly Thompson suggested that someone who had a tattoo that spelt “Olympics” incorrectly was Irish cued similar hysteria. An Aussie journalist implied that the Irish were synonymous with drinking … again with the hysteria already.
So you stereotype the Irish or you play with the Irish stereotype and all hell breaks out, but the Irish stereotyping Essex is apparently quite alright, which seems rather hypocritical.
So I took offence, deliberately, much as the Irish did when faced with the stereotyping described above.
Needless to say it didn’t go down well.
“Get a life”
“Lighten up a bit”
“Get a sense of humour”
When it comes to stereotyping of my great County I do find it rather tedious, I tend to ignore it. Stereotyping like this is pointless and childish and comes from the same minds that give us ordinary racial, religious and other cultural stereotyping and bigotry. I reserve the right, as always, to dismiss pointless, childish, bigots. The Irish people who took this route can just be considered Stupid Micks. Those who didn’t aren’t. Can I say that?
If not, why not?
Anyway, pause for thought. If you dislike stereotyping against your own why do you think it’s okay to do it against others?
The lion got away.
As we have the same conversation about the Household Charge every single day on the Journal I’m just going to stick this here so I can get to it when I need it, and save me having to find it, copy it and repost it:
Someone always wheels out that tired old line “If you didn’t register you don’t have to pay.”
It’s simply not true.
When this was mentioned in February all the relevant organsations, on both sides, said that this wasn’t true.
“Why then”, asks the tax evader, “were we asked to register at all (at all)?”
Well it’s simple, the state didn’t have a registry of of the ownership status of every property in the State. They could have gone through a long process of determining it but they decided to ask people thinking, incorrectly as it turns out, that people are basically law abiding.
The next line is “An ESB bill doesn’t prove that I own a house”, maybe not but when you sign up for electricity, or gas, or a phone you are asked what your home owner status is. So you’ve already given that status to a state run authority, they are simply collating ownership claims you’ve already made.
Finally we get, “I didn’t get a first letter.” Well if you read the articles and press releases you’ll see that the first wave of letters was targeted mainly at landlords, are you a landlord? The second wave, the harder to determine wave is targeted at home owners.
I’m not quite rolling in money but I can afford 2 euros a week, can’t you? Are you sure you don’t have any expenses you can’t get rid of? Your internet connection? Your TV? Sure there’s nothing worth watching anyway.
And it’s “unjust”, apparently. Well Morality is a nebulous concept. I’ll leave it to the churchmen and the philosophers, but what else might be unjust?
What if the millionaire says “Well I contribute a lot to society and I pay plenty of income tax, but a lot of other people pay nothing and take a lot out, that doesn’t seem very just to me. I’ll with hold some of my taxes.” Is that OK? Or if someone says “I don’t like what this government is doing, it’s unjust, I won’t declare my income, pay not tax and still take social welfare.” Is that OK?
Everything’s unfair or unjust to someone.
And apparently the rich don’t pay enough tax, well according to news reports on this site in 2010 tax revenues from high earners resulted in an average effective tax rate of around 30%. The OECD tax database shows that the average tax burden on wages from “All-in average personal tax rates” comes to about 16.5%. Now it’s been a little while since my maths degree but 30 is more than 16.5 still, isn’t it?
Then someone will start off about sheep or “sheeple”, well studies show that sheep are smarter than previously thought (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/8335465/Sheep-are-far-smarter-than-previously-thought.html). If people are like any mammal found on a farm then they’re like a party of small schoolchildren on a day trip to that farm. “Wah ‘snot fair! Don’t wanna!”
Does that cover everything? No, not quite. Massive savings could be managed by wholesale public services reform. And that’s true, perfectly and utterly true, but to do that you’ll need to get the Unions on board and they, these unelected self serving officials, will never stand for it. If you can get them on board then I’ll be very impressed and will look at any reforms with great interest.
So what if they raise it next year by a factor of 100? A 10K Household charge? They won’t.
A bit of a convo about the poor and workfare on twitter last week and a blog explaining my position was promised but wasn’t forthcoming because I have a newborn in the house and any quiet moment I could get to myself was spent quietly, or tidying, or sorting out paperwork, or sleeping.
Before you have your first child people tell you to store up your sleep but we aren’t hibernating mammals and sleep doesn’t work like that.
… When workfare and related topics of social welfare reform rear their heads certain things are bound to happen.
First there is an accusation of hating the poor and vulnerable. I don’t hate the poor, I hate that they are poor and would like them to have more money so that they can contribute to society’s unspoken contract. Then someone, let’s call him Arthur Pitworker, turns up. Arthur has worked 20 years in a coal mine paying his dues and contributing to society and now he has been thrown on the slag heap and all he wants is to collect his dole and keep his dignity while he looks for alternate employment without being put on some sort of half arse scheme that insults him, his intelligence, his experience and the fact that he has contributed. Well good on you, Arthur. You understand how things should work. You have paid in and now you want to take back what you have paid in and you want to work. Unfortunately the money you paid in has been spent, invested, bought, sold, appreciated, depreciated and spent on redundant missile systems over the years to the extent that the money you are taking out is, in fact, the money I am putting in. I don’t begrudge you that. When I get to the point where I am taking out the same will have happened to my contributions and it’ll be our children and grandchildren who are contributing that money. That’s how it’s supposed to work.
Unfortunately there are a couple of other people in the equation. Reece School-Leaver and Eustace Scrounger. Reece has finished school or college and can’t get a job. Not the job he thinks society owes him for getting reasonable grades. He’s not going to work in McDonalds for instance, he thinks he’s better than that. Fortunately for him he still has a room in his parent’s house, electricity, water, internet and food paid for and if he needs some spending money he has the government to fall back on. They’ll give him at least 100 Euros a week so he has some money in his pocket. They’ll give him more if he goes into some sort of further education, but there are no jobs with his current qualifications, so he doesn’t bother with that.
Eustace has never had a “job” as such. He has a house on the council with rent allowance, money from the government, a free washing machine every 3 years and financial assistance where he can finagle it on incidental expenses, like when his wife has a kid and he needs a new pram or pushchair, he gets a bit of extra money because he can’t work because his leg hurts when it rains he has a note on his from an overworked doctor who didn’t really examine him. He does work occasionally, when he isn’t in the pub, but he does it black or keep it’s under 20 hours a week so he doesn’t impact the money he is “due” from the government.
It’s people like Reece and Eustace that make the impact on tax payers like me and former tax payers like Arthur. We resent them. We resent their money for nothing attitude and we resent the fact that they don’t get society’s contract: Society pays out because people pay into society.
As a result of Reece and Eustace the truly poor and vulnerable do start to get hit quite badly when money is tight.
That’s why we want people like Reece and Eustace to be made to go out to work, even on workfare, so that the poor and the vulnerable aren’t impacted.
People of Ireland, vote Yes to the Fiscal Stability Treaty.
Vote Yes for Stability.
You want to vote No? You want instability do you? You want people starving in the streets? You want no new jobs in Ireland again ever? You voted Yes (eventually) to Lisbon and Nice and they promised you jobs and those jobs are on the way, you just have to vote Yes to this treaty too and maybe to one or two more.
Vote Yes for Stability. Vote Yes for Jobs.
You know that for every person that votes No, this man:
Will bite the head off a puppy? You want puppies to die? He’ll do it on live television you know, while kids are watching. You want that do you? You want instability, unemployment and a man eating puppies on television in front of your kids?
Vote Yes for Stability. Vote Yes for Jobs. Vote Yes for the puppies. Vote Yes for the children.
The weather has been dire lately, that’s because you’re thinking of voting No. Your negativity is affecting the weather. You want instability, unemployment, a man eating puppies on television in front of your kids and you want more rain?
Vote Yes for Stability. Vote Yes for Jobs. Vote Yes for the puppies. Vote Yes for the children. Vote Yes for the sunshine. Vote Yes for the moonlight. Vote Yes for the good times. Vote Yes for the boogie.
Come on Ireland. Vote Yes.
Great news today for the Secular Movement as Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor declares that the practice of being intolerant to anyone of any religious belief will ultimately wipe out Christianity.
Yes! It’s true. Every time you berate someone for believing in an omnipotent and and ever loving Sky Fairy you grate away a little bit at them until you get them to the point where they not only won’t express such awful and untrue things they also won’t practice any part of the Christian ethos, tolerance, trust and compassion will be eschewed by them particularly with regards to you. Remember, whatever they say about their faith just go “It’s not true, you’re fooling yourself, are you stupid? Maybe you want young boys to be molested.” Eventually they’ll either cave or they’ll hit you. So stand there holding your bloody nose and go “Dats nod a bery Grisdian agd, you gahd really be Grisdian gad you?” and call your own damn ambulance, no one’s going to do it for you.
You don’t need to have a Christian framework to be compassionate. But some people like to. Some people find faith, security and solace in belief. Why do other people feel a compunction to rip that away from them?
Sure bad things have been done dishonestly in the name of faith but so have good things, honestly. Why do some atheists feel the need to throw the baby out with the bathwater? Many of us of faith have seen the awful things done by some people claiming to be act in the name of God and we deplore them too. It doesn’t mean that we’re going to rip apart faith to expunge them. When you find a bad apple in your fruit bowl do you take the whole bowl out and burn it?
Incidentally, intelligent readers will have spotted my conspicuous use of the word “some”. Some atheists, some Christians. There are no hard and fast rules for either group (although some Christians do follow rules that are both hard and fast).
That “some” with Atheists won’t apply to David Penberthy who penned an interesting article a couple of years ago entitled, “Please God Spare Us The Born Again Atheists“, in which he deplores the behaviour of many nouveau Atheists in the Dawkins mould who feel a compunction to go out into the world and evangelise their lack of faith:
“The once gentle conviction that there is no God, and that in an ideal world, everyone would stop fighting over the supremacy of their imagined deity, is increasingly becoming the preserve of aggressive loudmouths who are every bit as annoying as those Jehovah’s Witnesses who used to knock on the door at 9am on a Sunday while you were sleeping off a big night.”
And so I find myself in agreement with a Cardinal and an Atheist. Funny place to be in.
Obviously the Greeks don’t know what they’re doing or what they want.
Isn’t it time that
Angela Merkel the EU stepped in and just appointed a government so the euro can last another couple of weeks?
To cries of “Ooh No, he’s the Antichrist!” President whatsisname has “come out” (so to speak) in favour (or possibly favor) of gay marriage.
Bizarre. The US president probably isn’t the Anti Christ, if this were a film it would make plenty of narrative sense for him to be so, but it isn’t.
The religious opposition to homosexuality lies primarily in one book, Leviticus and this brings me to a single question. To whom does Leviticus apply?
[Note that this is the thought processes of one man, it’s not doctrine, it’s not policy, it’s just me doing what I loosely refer to as thinking.]
It was originally the foundation of Jewish law and it carries forward into Christianity, in part.
Now many Christians eat pork. It’s forbidden by Leviticus but we still eat bacon and sausages and I, for one, am very fond of pork scratchings. So are Christians breaking God’s law? Well in Acts God tells Peter that what was considered unclean is now no longer unclean. He uses food as an example and later points out that Gentiles are ok too, is he expecting Peter, as a reasonably intelligent guy, to realise that as Christ died for ALL our sins then the gloves are off and what was unclean is no longer unclean? Does it go that far? Does Leviticus no longer apply?
It certainly seems to not apply for a lot of Christians, they take the point about food, they take the point about Gentiles. They also seem to assume that it doesn’t apply to clothing and you don’t see too many people making animal sacrifices as you should do under Leviticus.
In fact Leviticus (and much of Christianity) seems to have become a buffet where people pick and choose what they do and do not want to do. I don’t think religion should work like that. Either you think Leviticus applies to you or you don’t. Either Jesus washed away the sins of the world or He didn’t. You can’t say “Oh he washed away the sins, but not this one.” to pander to your own unpleasant bigotries. If there’s one thing Jesus wasn’t about it was unpleasant bigotries, you can see it throughout his ministry.
So if we do dispense with Leviticus what are we left with? The Sermon on the Mount, the commandments, the ministry as a whole. What aspect of that ministry suggests going around being unpleasant to people just because they disagree with our preconceptions?
None I can think of.
So just be reasonable and pleasant. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and frankly if homosexuals are allowed to get married what difference does it make to you in quantifiable terms? Are you less married as a result? Do you love your spouse less? Is anyone forcing you to marry someone of the same gender? No. On all counts. If people want to be happy don’t stop them, encourage them.
How queer. The day after Tom Chivers blogs about the need to disallow comments on certain subjects because of gratuitous offensiveness or legal constraints his boss, Damian Thompson, blogs about a rather fractious issue with the comments switched off.
Oh the furore. The wall scrawlers have descended on any other blog or article about anything from the Queen’s Speech to the Weather, from the Falklands to US TV Shows, to complain about their right to speak being impinged upon.
But as Tom says:
no one is preventing you from having your say. No one is preventing you from setting up your own blog, and from writing anything you like, within the limits of the law.
And they all miss the key point. This issue is sub-judice and even if it wasn’t it’s clear that the DT doesn’t want the short sighted, blinkered, EDL/BNP hatred based views clogging up their site. And it’s about time.
Good work to the DT on cleaning their house before their web presence becomes even more polluted by these knuckle dragging idiots.
*Not a coincidence at all
[Talking of setting up your own blog, some imbecile on Guido’s site is claiming to be me and touting links to my blog. No doubt this person is pathetically jealous of my greatness and general loveliness and should probably seek help from a small team of psychiatrists. Thanks, though, every hit gratefully welcomed.]