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Sunday, January 15, 2006


Politics and related disjointed philosophising

Have been rambling through my old text books recently (Today is my day off) and have got to thinking. There is a distinct dichotomy between what I do and what I think about it.

Firstly, as a believer in freedom of thought and speech the current UK political climate bothers me. Like Voltaire, my position is that I may not like what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Occasionally I might have to block out the odd childish ranter (Only one so far) so that more cogent folks can get a word in; but I feel that adds to the debate, not lessens it. By the same token, I like to be allowed to say my say and have done with it. Get it off my chest, out in the open without interruption. By the same token I’m willing to listen, unless someone is regurgitating some long discredited foolishness like socialism or communism. In which case I reserve the right to fall fast asleep and snore.

You want to comment – fine. Just so long as I have the choice whether or not to read it, that’s just dandy.

Now lets get a little hypothetical(ish) here; if someone doesn’t like, lets say homosexuality, they should be allowed to say so and construct a cogent argument to support their statement. If that argument is a load of old shoemakers, then let those who choose to listen to that argument make up their own mind. If it isn’t, well that’s okay too. If you don’t like what someone says, get into the debate and respond, or put your earplugs in, not call out for the person speaking to be arrested. That’s just plain wrong, silly and damaging.

That’s why I will actually watch some BBC TV programmes, like Top Gear. I often don’t like what Jeremy Clarkson has to say, but sometimes I agree wholeheartedly with him. He and his co-presenters make me smile. It’s one of the few truly watchable BBC TV programmes. Jon Snow of Channel 4 news fame often annoys me with his interruptions of an interviewee before they have finished speaking, same for Jeremy Paxman, but while I might not always like Mr Snow’s or Paxman’s views, I admire them for their forthrightness.

The creation of “Speech crimes” is a damned poor show, and the politicians who create laws which suppress debate need locking up more than those who supposedly commit said “Crimes”. While we’re at it, some 700 new offences have been created since 1997. Hold the phone! 700 new offences? What in the name of Satan’s left testicle is all that about?

For example, it turns out that under the wildlife and countryside act it is an offence if my dog goes after anything small, cute and furry. This puts me into a dilemma. My dog loves to chase anything furry which is smaller than himself. It is his chief pleasure in life. Say if the local branch of the Animal rights lunatics spots him chasing a squirrel, do I let the local Coppers drag my overenthusiastic hound off to the cells, or immediately call him a lawyer? Is there some new court in which an animal can be tried for such an offence? At this point I would like to make it plain that my dog has a mind of his own and will not listen to me once he’s having fun. He will slip his leash, collar and pull my arm out of its socket, whatever. It doesn’t matter. That Cat / Squirrel / Rabbit / Mouse / Rat will be chased and yours truly has no say at all in the matter.

Bearing in mind the mess politicians often make when passing laws; I’m warming to the idea Terry Pratchett espoused in his Discworld comedy, ‘The Last Continent’, where the population of the island of Four X immediately put politicians in jail immediately they got elected. This is not a new idea, but one which perhaps in the light of recent experience we should re-evaluate. Maybe putting better locks on the Houses of Parliament and televising the resultant shenanigans as the politicians try to get out. Upon reflection, maybe that concept has already been copyrighted.

Secondly, I actually have to enforce some of the rules, which I suppose makes me a bit of a hypocrite in a way, or maybe I’m just dazed and confused. Yeah, that’s a good excuse. Pass me a large one. I want to get even more dazed and confused and need all the help I can get.


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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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This net ring exposes political correctness for the fraud that it is and advocates universal values of individual freedom, free speech, and equal rights for all.


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