Tag Archives: eu

Sorry, you were born in the wrong place

Dear EU citizen,
Thanks for your interest in the UK as your home and place of work.

We have reviewed your application and unfortunately it appears that you were born on the wrong bit of the earth.

You see, we (‘humanity’) have, over the years, divided up the various bits of mud, grass, forests and mountains and declared it to be ours. An awful lot of effort has gone into making sure that our bits of land remain our bits of land, and we’ve also put a lot of effort into trying to get more bits of land.

As it happens, us Brits (that’s what we call people who happen to have been born on this bit of the earth we decided to call “Britain” and declare ours) used to claim quite a lot of the earth as ours. We don’t have as much now, so we’re a bit protective about what’s left.

Rather foolishly your parents decided to give birth to you on a bit of land that we hadn’t claimed was ours. So you can’t come to our bit of land. A short holiday would be fine, but you’ll have to go back. You can’t stay.

If you’d been born on our bit of land you’d be one of us, do it be fine. But you weren’t, so it’s not.

Please stay on your own bit of land.

Yours,

Britain.

Why I’m voting Green, and why you should definitely vote today.

After using the excellent Vote Match website, I reviewed my answers and the comparisons to the policies of the various political parties and decided that I agreed with it’s assessment that I should vote for the Green Party.

There are a few things I do disagree with the Greens on, such as their stance on Nuclear power and GM crops which I believe are anti-scientific. Mostly though, I’m more closely matched with them than any other party, and I think that makes sense. If I could vote Pirate, I would.

Please use Vote Match to decide who to vote for.

Not bothering to vote?

Please do.

I’ve flip-flopped on whether to vote or not, but one thing the rise of UKIP in polls has shown me is that not voting is tantamount to voting by proxy.

What do I mean by that?

If there are 100,000 eligible voters (of which you are one) and only 40,000 vote, that effectively makes each of those 40,000 votes worth 2.5 votes. You are giving your voting power to someone else.

So if anyone votes for a party you despise, or just don’t like enough to vote for, not voting will be gifting the weight of your vote to those parties anyway. Your inaction will help those parties you don’t like to get into power.

Don’t like ANY of the parties or candidates? Then spoil your ballot paper and deny everyone else the power to use your vote against you!

UKIP are going to have a spectacular victory, and that’s a good thing.

MAYBE!

Look, most people don’t really like UKIP’s policies, whether or not the actual party members are racist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic morons or not (they are, by the way).

What many people are seeing is a party being brutally honest (for the most part) and the political establishment trying to discredit them.

It’s that very political establishment that the public has completely lost faith and trust in, though. It was no surprise to me when, after the huge media barrage against UKIP recently, they took the lead in the EU polls over Labour.

People aren’t seeing a despicable group of bigots being exposed, they’re seeing a bunch of arrogant, entitled, self-important, power-hungry fraudsters scared shitless that someone is seriously challenging them for once. What the public see is an opportunity to take the status quo and give it a right good bollocking.

I’d say that’s a damn good thing. It might finally give the political establishment the incentive to relinquish PR politics in favour of policy politics.

That’s the maybe though. I’d love them to get the message but will they really? It’s doubtful.

Meanwhile, it’s sad that it’s a right-wing party causing all this kerfuffle. Where’s the party of the left? Paul Robinson put it best recently;

P.s. If you’re concerned/angry/fed up with politics, help Democracy Club do something.

My (disappointing) correspondence with Michael Cashman MEP over Mandelson’s 3 strikes policy

With today’s announcement of the Digital Economy Bill containing the dreaded three strikes policy I thought I’d share my disappointing correspondence with Michael Cashman MEP.

I first wrote to him with;

Dear Michael Cashman,

I’m biased as my career is based entirely on the web, but Mandelson’s plans to implement disconnection without trial for those accused of copyright infringement over the internet is seriously disturbing.

The internet is so crucial to communication in the 21st century that to disconnect people without a ruthless exploration of the facts is unthinkable to me.

At a time when the Government is targeting broadband roll-out for the whole country with it’s Digital Britain agenda this surely can only be a backwards step for the digital economy of the UK.

I’d like to ask that you support, in whatever way you can, the Open Rights Group and La Quadrature who are calling on the EU to save our right to a free trial under amendment 138 (“No restriction may be imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of end-users, without a prior ruling by the judicial authorities.”)

Malcolm Harbour and Rapporteur Catherine Trautmann are leading the negotiations on behalf of the EU Parliament. If they win, the UK government will be stopped from their current plan to disconnect people after a number of accusations of copyright infringement unless they “appeal” to an “ombudsman”.

Yours sincerely,

Philip John

His first, one sentence, reply was about as re-assuring as a poke in the eye (you can see the scanned version of this letter, too);

Dear Mr John,

Thank you for your recent email.

I support the right to ‘free trial’ and their suspension if found guilty. But I do not support the Open Rights Group position on copyright.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Cashman

Obviously not happy with that, I gave it another go;

Dear Michael Cashman,

Thank you for replying to my letter regarding Lord Mandelson’s plans for disconnection without trial for those accused of copyright infringement over the internet.

I was disappointed with your short response and lack of support for the Open Rights Group who are trying to protect the basic right of the British public to a fair trial.

Regardless of whether you support ORG, do you recognise that all people throughout Europe have a fundamental right to a free trial? Do you
recognise that Lord Mandelson’s plans would waive this right? Will you work to stop Lord Mandelson’s plans from being put in place, therefore
protecting all those you represent from being unfairly prosecuted by the authorities without a fair hearing?

I trust a more thorough response will be forthcoming.

Yours sincerely,

Philip John

I wasn’t hopeful, and rightly so;

Dear Mr John,

Further to your recent email. I fully support Lord Mandelson who I am sure will not deny the principle of a citizen’s right to a fair trial.

I have nothing further to add to the principles outlined in my original reply: the right to a fair trial.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Cashman

So pretty much “no, now leave me alone.” I can see his point, I mean who am I but a lowly citizen trying to ensure that my government doesn’t diminish the basic freedoms we should expect? And you know, why should he do anything about it anyway? It’s not like he’s an elected representative of the people or anything…. Oh, hang on.