Ban Ki Moon: Freedom of speech has limits

Ban Ki Moon has provoked a certain amount of anger from some commentators by saying that “Freedom of speech has limits”.

“All of this freedom of expression should not be abused by individuals. … Some people abuse this freedom. This effort to provoke, to humiliate others by using (religious) beliefs cannot be protected in such a way.”

Basically, some people use freedom of speech as a sort of virtual armour to go around winding people up for religious and other reasons.

Next, the people who were the intended victims of this winding up get angry.  We all know by now that if you insult Islamic people some people in the Islamic world will use this as motivation to stir people up further and get a bit of violence going.

When that violence kicks off who does it hit?  Does it hit the initial instigators?  No.  Does it hit the people who stir up the other Muslims?  No.

It hits other people.  The two stirring groups are unaffected.

Then the commentators ‘doze in with the “Oh well, people should be able to say what they want without there being violence, it’s not their fault.”

I disagree, it is bloody their fault, and it’s their fault without their responsibility and now you’re defending them.

Look.  If you want to defend freedom of speech go right ahead but don’t defend people who go and deliberately being arseholes in order to cause dissent.  Such people do not merit or care about your sympathies.

If you want to defend someone, defend Ahmed the Egyptian Grocer who was quietly going about his business before a mob stormed down his street incited by an idiot on the internet who knew he’d never have to suffer the repercussions of his actions.

At the end of the day if people use freedom of speech to offend then leaders will instigate limits.  Those limits won’t make a great deal of difference to people dicking about online, but they will make a difference to ordinary people who have to take responsibility for their words and actions.

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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


Irish People, They No Happy

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.

They no happy.

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?

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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Commentariat, Newsy


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Strategic Offence Taking

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.

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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Commentariat, Newsy


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Household Charge Groundhog Day

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 ( 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.


Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Newsy, Politics


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Two Wrongs

On the subject of Riley, the 17 year old arrested for tweeting threats to Tom Daley (18), I’m grateful to Colin McGovern for making me think by drawing attention to this spiel from Mof Gimmers, “Tom Daley Twitter And The Pitchfork Circus”, additionally this, from Matt Flaherty, and this, from Cranmer.

All boiling down to one simple timeline of events:

  • Child tweets at personality.
  • Personality retweets at not inconsiderable volume of followers, dissing child.
  • Followers rail at child.
  • Child hits out with threats
  • Twitter Celebs join in.
  • Their followers join in.
  • Child tries to apologise, but it’s too late.
  • Media gets involved.
  • Child hits out further.
  • Arrests ensue.

Just looking at his timeline alone that’s not immediately transparent.  It’s worth noting in particular the Celeb involvement.  These people are media trained, they have between them many award winning TV shows which they’ve presented or written they know better than a 17 year old nobody what works and what doesn’t work and there’s a number of them.  There’s only one of him.  Should they know better?

I’m not excusing what the child did or wrote, what he did was indeed wrong, and judging by some of his other tweets he does appear to be a bit of misguided child (racism, hate speech etc).  But what the mob did, that was wrong too.  And when I was a kid two wrongs didn’t make a right, do they now?


Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Commentariat


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A Threat To Blow Up The Guardian

So what is and isn’t now acceptable in social media?

The twitter joke trial has ended and it’s apparently okay to threaten to blow something up if you aren’t menacing:

“The appeal against conviction will be allowed on the basis that this ‘tweet’ did not constitute or include a message of a menacing character; we cannot usefully take this aspect of the appeal further.”

Whereas “Riley” threatening Tom Daley does include a message of menacing character:

“i’m going to find you and i’m going to drown you in the pool you cocky t*** your a nobody people like you make me sick”

Quite an ironic one too.


“i dont give a shit bruv i’m gonna drown him and i’m gonna shoot you he failed why you suporting him you cunt”

[Why does he * out twat but not cunt?  What’s that all about?  Surely the latter is more offensive than the former.  Bizarre.]

On top of that you get Brendan O’Neill’s revelation that social media and the media in general is a bit left wing, so dissing the Olympic Ceremony is apparently unacceptable (I didn’t think it was too bad, I was mainly messing with my phone and making drinks throughout it but what I saw wasn’t awful, it did seem a bit lefty, but what the heck, lefty is what’s acceptable, being right wing these days is just mean!  The real right wing should probably reclaim itself from the racists at some point but that’s another blog for another day.)

On a personal note I’ve seen that making slightly nasty jokes about atheists can only result in a torrent of abuse.  They’re very sensitive.  Apparently giving up on God makes you unhappy.  Maybe there’s a lesson in there.

So my question is when will the tweet:

OK, @Guardian atheists, you’ve got a week to fairly represent the love of a Christian God or I’m blowing up your offices!

Be acceptable?

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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Commentariat


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How To Implode A Troll

I’ll start by saying that this blog was prompted a conversation with Helen Lewis and Martin Robbins about the deplorable double standards of the Daily Mail.  I don’t know if this would work with global media giants.  It probably wouldn’t, it does work with individual trolls.  I know, I’ve done it.

What does a troll want?  Reaction.  Any reaction.  Any reaction at all.  Any acknowledgement is a reaction.  That’s how they know they’ve “won”, what they’ve won is another question.  How do you win?  Don’t react.  Don’t acknowledge.

And it’s really that simple.

Firstly stop acknowledging them.  Don’t say that you are.  Don’t alert them, just quietly decide that you’ll ignore them.  And continue to do so.

They’ll twig slowly that you’ve removed their existence from your purview.

Then they’ll react.  They’ll rail at you, they might well start a targeted attack on you.

Ignore them.

They’ll react further.

Ignore them.

Never respond to anything they say or do ever again.

And I mean “ever”.

Never, ever give them another reaction as long as you live.  Never refer to them obliquely, never react to anything anyone says to them.  They, and by extension anything to do with them, do not exist.  If you want a laugh about it do so quietly to yourself.

If you respond, even years later they win.

Given time they will implode in fury and vanish out of existence.

Still then do not laugh.


Posted by on July 6, 2012 in Commentariat



Good Grief

Small and not all that funny joke made on the journal in reponse to their poll “Do you enjoy travelling by air?”

It beggars belief.

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Posted by on July 5, 2012 in Commentariat


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Hating The Poor And Vulnerable

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.

So …

… 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.


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The Price Of Gender Equality?

An interesting little theory I ran across years ago and have since seen expounded more than once that appears to hang together but is probably worth the paper it’s printed on.

Gender Equality is the cause of the economic bubble (and a bunch of other stuff).

Gender Equality led to more women working, thus to greater disposable income and thus to more inflation, it also led to the ageing population as more women put off having children and having careers instead.  Employment will have been impacted as some jobs done by men will have been done by equally qualified women and all this will have impacted inflation and the property bubble as prices rose to accomodate the disposable money and the increased borrowing power of these dual income couples.

So the impacts are:

  • Ageing population (and hence the need for economic immigrants)
  • Property Bubble
  • Unemployment
  • Inflation

All going to unsustainable levels and the inevitable crash.

Seems a bit neat, a bit too neat.  I don’t subscribe to single causes of issues.  You could see, though, how it could be used by an unscrupulous person.  Heck we could probably throw in Adolf Hitler for starting a war that led to more women working outside the home and showing that they are every bit as capable as men.

But then Godwin.

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Posted by on July 4, 2012 in Commentariat, Politics