Archive | December, 2008

Do the sheep have teeth?

24 Dec

I’ve just read Justin’s piece on the bailiffs story. I feel I need to revisit the issue as I don’t think I was pissed-off anything like enough the first time.

Also, check out the reader comments. Get a measure of just how fucked up these proposals are, and how people who’ve done bugger-all wrong, can find themselves caught up in the system and on the wrong end of an ass kicking a dose of reasonable force.

Justin writes ::

You could call this another front in New Labour’s war on the poor but the thing is, they way things are going right now, the number of people who could end up on the receiving end of this is growing by the day. It’ll probably take a nice, respectable white middle-class stockbroker, who’s down on his luck and has photogenic children, to be killed or seriously injured before people realise that this isn’t just about keeping the underclass nervous.

It’s teaching all of us to never, ever, be poor. To never, ever, have a run of bad luck. Keep your head down and keep kissing the boss’ arse. Bite your tongue over your pay and conditions. Come in a bit earlier and stay a bit later. Don’t forget you’re the smallest of cog in this economy – a little fear should keep you lubricated and in good working order a little while yet.

Indeed. Are we going to continue to take this shit? I know, we’ve swallowed this god-awful system of governance for centuries. What other choice is there?

I’ll tell you what, you just sit there and flick-trough your latest copy of Heat. Read that front-page tabloid story about Amy fucking Winehouse’s recent trip into rehab. Send a text to create yet another convey-belt star live on TV. Have you seen Britney recently? She’s really got her shit back together, no?

What the hell is wrong with you? Are you bat-shit crazy or just thick as shit?

You’re being played. They’re taking the piss out of you.

Your Prime Minister has spent a decade telling you how gaaawwwd-damn awesome he is, yet as soon as the credit-fuelled good times ended, your emperor was left with no clothes. Some of us predicted this. Brown said he’d overseen an “end to boom and bust”, but those of us who own a history book and a calculator knew that it would all come crashing down.

And now who pays?

The politicians who encouraged you to borrow and spend beyond your means? Don’t be daft. Labour and the Tories are both just bigger cogs in the same system – the democratic window-dressing, if you like. Brown doesn’t get to go for drinky-poos with the financial elite because they love his books, you know?

So what about the bankers who “managed” the system? Will they be strung up and be flogged? Fuck no! Your taxes are “re-capitalising” the banks and the champagne still flows and private shindigs continue.

You see when those at the top of the hierarchy fuck-up, you have the pleasure of bailing them out. Yet when you and I fuck-up, they send the heavies around to give you a slap and make off with your wife’s favourite necklace. And in this scenario, you’re the criminal.

Justin is right. We have zero stake in this system – we are the smallest cogs.

They feed us a constant stream of mind-numbing celebrity guff to keep us disinterested as they ram us up the collective arse. And they’re wise enough to understand that we like the occasional terror story or bogeyman to keep us all needy and placated.

We’re the batteries that power the establishment. We just need to be kept stupid and distracted. You’ve seen The Matrix, right?

Call me a bitter bedroom nihilist if you like. I’ve had faith in politics in the past. I once believed that, while the realities of office may blunt our politicians effectiveness, they have our best interests at heart really.

Do they fuck. Is giving private debt collectors the power to kick down your door and restrain your screaming family, in your best interested?

I don’t want to resort to a burn-the-palace-down Libertarian politics, but what choice do I have? We thought we had voted in progressive and liberal politics a decade ago, yet all we got were a bunch of authoritarian warmongering halfwits, who couldn’t organise a cutlery draw.

So I’ve come to a conclusion: The house is against you. It wants you to lose. So it’s time to stop playing the game.

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New powers for debt collectors to enter your home

23 Dec

The blogosphere has been raging at news that the government is “proposing wide-ranging new powers for bailiffs to break into homes and to use “reasonable force” against householders who try to protect their valuables.”

Basically it would mean that if you attempted to stop bailiffs from entering your private property, they could pin you down while they make off with your telly.

Personally I’m not sure where forceful restraining ends and actual assault begins. And I’d be surprised if the government has given it much thought. Thinking something through isn’t really this government’s style.

Chances are if you try and prevent the bailiffs, you’ll get a bit of a slap and it’ll be your word against theirs.

I’m certainly not comfortable with empowering non-official agencies with the right to physically restrain me on my own property – regardless of my inability to pay the bills.

I’ll leave you with Sim-O’s frightening scenario ::

You come home from work/holiday/the shops and find your door kicked in. You enter the house to find it’s been ransacked. You enter the living room. The telly, the DVD player. Gone. The draws of the side board are shut, but you know that someone has been going through them. You go upstairs just dreading to what you’re going to find. In one room after another, chests of drawers have been rifled. Someone has gone through all your most intimate items. Your business filing. Wage slips. The jewellery gone as well.

How do you think that’s going to feel? Thinking that someone has broken into your house and stolen your belongings, that’s bad enough, but when in reality the ‘thieves’ have had the law on their side and are allowed to ransack your home, when even the police can’t just walk in, is an abomination.
Now you have all the upset, distress and associated hassle of having to get it all back because it turns out it wasn’t you that owed the bank/loan company/district court money. It was the people that lived where you do previously. Or you just happen to have the same name as some one who owes money. Or it could just be a completely random reason why you have appeared on the bailiffs records.
How does that feel? I bet you’d be feeling a bit shit and angry about it all. Good job you’ve got a strong character and are able to deal with the stress by someones’ typo. How fortunate that you happen to have enough savings to get you by while you claim back everything from the bailiffs. Just remind me, how much do lawyers cost? Because I bet it won’t be a quick and easy process.
It’d be hard but you’d survive the experience. What about the old lady next door? Would she? What’s she going to do when the bailiff sticks his boot through the door?
Or how about the ‘highly excitable’? Ending up being pinned to the ground with a broken arm? Or worse.

Scary Mary.

Those wonderful Saudis

23 Dec

Those Saudis are a lovely friendly bunch, aren’t they?

They’re the ones with all that oil and money who are so lovely that they’re apparently above the law. And so friendly that we often have them around for tea and nibbles, just so we can tell them how great they are. Yeah, we know that they finance those Wahabbist madrassahs that indoctrinate so many angry little jihads, but what’s a few civilian casualties between friends?

The Saudis are so great. I love the Saudis.

From The Guardian ::

An eight-year old Saudi Arabian girl who was married off by her father to a 58-year-old man has been told she cannot divorce her husband until she reaches puberty.

Lawyer Abdu Jtili said the divorce petition was filed by the unnamed girl’s divorced mother in August after the marriage contract was signed by her father and the groom. “The judge has dismissed the plea because she [the mother] does not have the right to file, and ordered that the plea should be filed by the girl herself when she reaches puberty,” lawyer Abdullah Jtili told the AFP news agency.

You gotta love’em too, huh?

In denial

22 Dec

I love the way Ann Coulter says ::

The entire presidential election year was kind of a downer for conservatives. Once the “maverick” John McCain won the nomination, the rest of the year was like watching a slow motion car crash. Except at least a slow motion car crash is occasionally entertaining. So it was going to be a long year.

Ann, dear; McCain was your one and only hope of winning the presidential election. It’s just that the GOP goons didn’t allow him to be the “maverick” he’s perceived as.

Okay it was always going to be a Dem year, but McCain was the one candidate who could have transcended the national consensus and delivered the GOP a third straight term in the executive.

If you think that your brand of social conservatism and divisive rhetoric would have won out, you’re in more trouble than you think. Limbaugh is equally deluded.

Some of which, is probably true…

22 Dec

John Hodgman on hobos.

Guilty pleasure

22 Dec

I know I probably shouldn’t, but I do love Jeremy Clarkson’s writing. From The Times ::

I don’t mind mistakes; the chap who accidentally forgets to close the doors on the ferry, for instance. These are errors. These are evidence of human fallibility. What I cannot abide is the wilful lack of interest in customers that ruins everything we buy and everything we do these days.

Except smoking. Over the years, I have worked my way through perhaps a million cigarettes and not one of them has ever come out of the packet shaped like a penis, or covered in mud. Not one has ever refused to light, or exploded while I am driving along. You sometimes get a beetle in your chocolate bar or an earwig in your curry. But cigarettes? Every single one is just as you would expect. A perfectly tailored nicotine delivery service.

It would, of course, be unreasonable to expect such consistency from cars. They are made up of 15,000 parts and some of them are made by people who are French. So, naturally, there will be mistakes from time to time

Indi snobbery in vain

21 Dec

Ha! I knew all that Indi snobbery was misdirected and pathetic.

Jennie cuts to the heart of the Xmas number one ::

There is a meme extant on the interwebz at the moment to prevent the X-Factor winner getting to Christmas number one, on the grounds that many music fans are sick of Simon Cowell being musical dictator of this country. A lot of people are buying the Jeff Buckley version of Halleluiah as thier protest. What you may not realise is that this is doing EXACTLY what the Cowell-meister WANTS you to do – for he owns the rights to the Jeff Buckley version too. For my part, I am in on a different Liberal Conspiracy.

Way to stick it to the man, people!