Monday, 30 June 2014

Damn those Fates. It's FREE!!!!!

Download it FREE from here!

It appears that the Fates (whose heads I'm going to smash in with a lump hammer next time I see them) are hell-bent on preventing me from offering my stunning collection of short stories - God, Aliens, Death & Teapots - to the great reading public, free of charge.
Not only is Amazon insisting on charging £1.99 for it (even though it's available from my uber-cool publishers at £0.00), an unexplained glitch on Autharium's own website meant that even though it was available from them for free, it wasn't actually possible to download it!
That would explain why 'sales' of what has to be (even though I say so myself) an incredibly imaginative, witty and thought-provoking septet of mini-literary masterpieces, have been so disappointingly low :(

But not anymore, folks - the problem's fixed!

Download it FREE from here!

And if that wasn't enough, there's a big virtual hug, sloppy kiss, or hearty shake of the hand from me to anyone who clicks the download button - all you need to do is indicate your preference as a comment at the end of this post :)

And if that still wasn't enough, I've included the first few paragraphs from one of the stories to pique your interest and get you racing to part with absolutely none of your money, at all, whatsoever - this one's entitled:

Why Do Pandas Look So Sad?

 I never really thought much about pandas before it happened. To me, they were just large, cuddly, bear-like creatures that spent most of their time sitting around, chewing on bamboo shoots and struggling to get laid. I only ever once saw one in real life, and that was when I took my children to the zoo one holiday whilst my wife was working away. As my eldest daughter, Alice, read aloud the words on the colourful information board:
‘...only 1,600 left in the wild...’
‘...confined to the mountains of western China...’
‘...shrinking habitat...’
‘...facing extinction...’
I hoisted my youngest up onto my shoulders so she could get a better view of the animal. Together, we watched as, true to form, it was sitting in the centre of its enclosure on a small mound of earth, munching on a pile of bamboo shoots. That was virtually all it did. Occasionally, it did seem to pause for a moment, as if it had thought of something; but then it would commence its munching again, looking vacantly ahead. Just once, it did stop eating completely, putting aside the bamboo and casting its gaze around its enclosure. It stared for a while in our general direction. Then, it gathered up more bamboo shoots, looked away and began eating again. Not once, in the seven or eight minutes that we were standing there watching it, did it make any effort to move from where it was sitting.
To me, the thing just looked bored.
But, Louisa; well, she saw something else.
‘Why do pandas look so sad?’
At the time, the question hardly registered because Alice had finished reading the information board and had announced that she now wanted to move on and look at the giraffes and then the lions and then the hippos. As a result of this distraction, I’m not sure I ever answered Lou’s question; if I did, I can’t remember what it was I said.
But if my darling little daughter were able to ask me that very same question now (and how I wish to God that she could), the answer I could give her would, I’m sure, bring tears to those bright blue eyes of hers, just as the mere thought of it now brings tears to my own.

 Looking back, I guess we would really like to call it an invasion. That would at least suggest there was an intention to occupy, to subjugate, perhaps eventually to exterminate; and that would in turn suggest that we, the human race, had been a consideration. But the truth of the matter is that we were probably worthy of no more than a passing thought; that to them, we were, all seven billion of us, creatures of...
It took me quite some time (and Christ knows I’ve had plenty of that) to figure out the word that best describes how I think mankind was regarded:
To them, we were creatures of inconsequence, no more a part of their thinking as earthworms and woodlice and beetles are to a man in an excavator loading giant mounds of earth into trucks.
No, this was never an invasion.
It was...asset-stripping.
Nothing more, nothing less.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Book Review - Ragged Souls by Ernest San Giacomo

The Book on Amazon UK

Of the three stories which Ernesto has included in Ragged Souls, I enjoyed the final one, Cactus Valley, the most. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy the first two, though I felt that with regards to the first story in particular, A Purveyor of Odd Things, there is actually a much better, bigger story in there, fighting to get out. There's a sense of the plot and the character development having been 'squeezed' into a short story, resulting in some elements of the narrative (particularly the burgeoning relationship between the two main characters) feeling rushed. I also felt that this story, perhaps more than the second and third ones, needed the 'bizarre' element to be more fully explained.
Story number two, Martha's Kitchen, is quite heavy on dialogue, which may not be to everyone's taste. However, the backstory and the two main characters, Martha and Jillian, are developed to a more satisfyingly level. The plot twist, when it arrives, is pleasingly sudden. The final scene, in my humble opinion, would have more impact if it were considerably shorter, but that doesn't really detract from the overall tale.
Story number three, Cactus Valley, as I mentioned earlier, is my favourite. Ernesto creates two interesting, though not entirely likeable, main characters and engenders a good sense of isolation and peril around them. There is an almost comedic element to this tale, based on a clash of ideologies, which is the most satisfying of the three 'bizarre' twists.
Overall, three very readable short stories that I'd certainly encourage people to have a look at.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

It's Time to Get Tough On Time!!

Below is a picture of Rafa Nadal starting his service action at Wimbledon this year.
Nothing too astonishing about that, you might say.

The problem is that, prior to this moment, Rafa has:
  • towelled himself down (left arm, right arm, face)
  • examined the three tennis balls he's been given by the ball-boy
  • dispensed with one of the balls and put one in his pocket
  • bounced the ball several times with his racquet
  • picked his knickers out of his bum crack
  • adjusted his tee-shirt on his shoulders
  • wiped the sweat from his nose
  • put his hair behind his left ear
  • wiped the sweat from his nose
  • put his hair behind his right ear
  • bounced the ball several more times
all of which takes time - 27 seconds, on average, in his recent match against Lukas Rosol, which is 7 seconds longer than he is permitted to take in a Grand Slam tennis tournament.
But has anyone pulled him up on this?
Should they?
Well, yes, I think they should.
I know that some people will argue that it's all part of Rafa's 'routine' and that it's not intentional and that the extra time not only gives Rafa the opportunity to compose himself (and perhaps recover from a long rally on the previous point) but also his opponent, but that's not really the issue, is it.
The issue is whether a rule of the game should be flouted so often and to such an extent - if it is to be so, then just get rid of the rule altogether and let players take as long as they want; if not, then get the display in the corner which shows serve speed to double as a shot-clock and if the ball isn't in play by the time it gets to zero, then the point goes to the receiver - that would certainly make players like Rafa conform.
(just for your info, the Daily Mail put the following numbers up for the top players from their recent matches: Murray, 21 seconds - Djokovic, 23 - Federer, 15, Sharapova, 24)

Oh, and one other thing with regards to 'gamesmanship' in tennis - have a look at this rule:
Note that it places the onus on the receiver to play to the reasonable pace of the server.
Now, next time you watch Maria Sharapova receiving, notice how she turns her back on the server, fiddles with the strings of her racquet and suchlike, and only turns round to receive when she is ready.
Go on, watch her…

I think so.
And don't get me started on her screaming as she hits every shot…
Or 'comfort breaks'…
Or calling the trainer to massage a tired muscle...

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Meaning of LiFIFA Part 2 - An Update

Following the events of this evening's match between Uruguay and Italy, I've hurriedly decided to revise my previous definition of a Suarez as follows:

Little known Uruguayan mental disorder which prompts a sudden and uncontrollable hunger for raw human flesh, preferably European. An event usually culminates in a grovelling apology and a promise never to do it again (which no-one will now believe)!

Suarez bites Otman Bakkal in 2010

Suarez bites Branislav Ivanovic in 2013

Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder shows bite marks in 2014

But what exactly IS 'Poverty', Archbishop?

I've moved away from football and instead I'm going to talk about a profoundly important social issue. This of course means that 90% of the people who've been reading my blog recently will go elsewhere for their entertainment, but if I'm to stay true to my aims that this blog should be about what I want to talk about, then that's a price I'm just going to have to pay.

Today there's been an article on the news about how it is, according to Dr John Sentamu (he's the Archbishop of York, by the way) a national scandal that there are millions of people 'working and still living in poverty' because employers are not paying what is termed 'a living wage'.
Living Wage Article on BBC
For those of you who are unaware of what 'a living wage' is, it is (according to the official Living Wage website), 'calculated according to the basic cost of living'. In the UK this is £7.65 an hour, or £8.80 if you live in London. This compares to the minimum wage which is currently £6.31 an hour.

You see, it's the use of the word 'poverty'. What exactly do we mean by this word?
Well, the problem with the word poverty is that it's a relative term - people can be in poverty in relation to their local peers here in the UK because they haven't had a holiday for a year or can't afford an X-Box One or can only afford fish twice a week, but in comparison to people in another country (choose any sub-Saharan hell-hole stricken by famine for the last decade) then the fact they've got food and shelter and clothes and some comforts to enjoy, means they're probably not all that badly off after all, and they certainly aren't in 'poverty'.
Which is where the idea of equating 'poverty' (which Dr Sentamu has done) with being below the basic standard of living (or minimum income standard) is a dangerous thing to do.
Calculate your minimum income standard
Now I had a go at determining what my minimum income standard should be, posing as a couple with no children (because it won't calculate if you say you have others over 18 living at home, which is weird); it says the income we need for a 'basic standard of living' is £26,211. Included in that are:

  • £16.65 per week for alcohol (yes, per week!!)
  • £19.94 per week for clothing
  • £22.27 per week for personal goods and services (whatever they are) and
  • £74.73 per week for 'social and cultural activities'!!
And this is the problem. To say that a couple is 'in poverty' because they can't afford to spend £16.65 each week on booze and £74.73 on cultural activities is, in all honesty, an insult to those people who really do struggle to make ends meet, who really don't have enough money to live on and heat their homes and eat healthily.
So until people start differentiating between 'poverty' and 'a lower standard of living' (and yes, I'm talking to you Archbishop!) then we're always going to skew the debate on how much people who are working should earn, which, by the way, should ALWAYS be significantly more than anyone who isn't…but that's fodder for a future blog, methinks.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Getting the Time Right

Continuing my recent spate of (popular) football related posts in honour of the ongoing World Cup, I've decided to have a dig at that aspect of The Beautiful Game which probably causes more angst and dismay than any other:
Time Wasting.

Now I was going to spend a little bit of time going into all those intensely annoying techniques whereby professional footballers frustratingly whittle away the seconds (and so deny the paying public of what it is they've actually come to watch i.e. football!), but instead I'm going to point you towards a blog which has already done that in a very comprehensive way indeed:

15 time wasting tactics in football

This gives me the opportunity to offer up my grand master-plan for eliminating this annoying aspect once and for all.
Stop The Clock!
Sounds simple, doesn't it, and in a way, it is.
All you need is a guy with a stopwatch (or, for the more sophisticated level of the game, a guy in the stand with a finger linked to a big clock!) who's been given a set of simple rules:

  • when the ball goes out of play (for a throw-in or goal-kick), stop the clock.
  • when the ball goes back in play, start the clock.
  • when the referee blows his whistle for a foul, stop the clock.
  • when the free kick/penalty is taken, start the clock.
  • when the substitution is being made, the clock is stopped.
Each half of football will be reduced to thirty minutes (giving us an hour of actual play), which equates nicely with the rough average of 56 minutes of actual football in a current 90 minute match.
It also means that, at the end of each half, there will be a clear and unequivocal understanding of how long is left to play (so no more Fergie-time!)
It will also do away with players feigning injuries, kicking the ball away, last minute substitutions to run down the clock…in fact, many of the things which really piss the viewing public off.

Are you listening, Sepp?
Are you?

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Introducing the FIFA All Stars

Well, much to my surprise, my last few posts ('The Ugly Truth about The Beautiful Game' and 'The Meaning of LiFIFA 1, 2 & 3)' have turned out to be my most successful posts in terms of the number of page visits and the number of comments. (Thanks to everyone who's shown an interest and commented - you're all fabulous!)
So, in a cheap and tawdry effort to continue this increased traffic on my blog, I've decided to go for another football related post, one which I am sure will appeal not only to the money-grabbers at FIFA but also, perhaps, to a couple of billion football fans whose teams didn't make it to the spectacle in Brazil.

The FIFA All Stars.
It's a simple enough idea.
23 players chosen from all those countries that didn't qualify (no more than 2 players per country though) and managed by a special 'guest' manager (I'm thinking Fergie or The Special One).
Just think about it - that's potentially 23 more countries (and their fanbase) with a vested interest in the World Cup, which, in turn, means 23 more countries for TV rights, advertising, replica shirt sales, etc, etc. You'd have a player from China there, that's for sure!

But looking beyond the money and thinking just about the football (which I guess counts the guys from FIFA out), just consider if they'd had the FIFA All Stars in the past, then we'd have been able to see the likes of George Best, George Weah and Ryan Giggs strutting their stuff on the biggest footballing stage in the world - how genuinely cool would that have been.

So who thinks this is a fantastic idea?
Do you think Sepp and his buddies will cut me in for 10%?
And if you do, who should be in the FIFA All Stars squad for this World Cup?

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The Meaning of LiFIFA - Part 3

Remember the Matrix trilogy - it started well (even though it did have Keanu Reeves in it), but then it started to go downhill at such a rate that by the time the third film came along, no-one had a bloody clue what the f*ck was going on and everyone was convinced that the producers were just trying to squeeze everything they could out of an idea before they eventually shot it in the head.
Well, my new footballing vocabulary is nothing like that, because it's just going to run and run and run, irrespective of whether anyone still understands it - like Lost.

POLL (n.) - medical term (latin name - numeratus nobus)
A sudden, inexplicable inability to differentiate between the numbers 2 and 3.

Example of usage - 'I went to buy ice creams for the children, suffered a Poll, and ended up buying one too many!'

PEPE (vb.)
To Zidane someone (not necessarily Italian) when the recipient is seated.

VINNIE (vb.)
To crush something e.g. nuts.

Example of usage - 'Ow. I've just Vinnied my finger in the door. Get me some witch hazel.'

GREEN (adj.)
Something that should be impenetrable but, when tested, is found to be dangerously flawed.

Example of usage - The Green Zone in Baghdad.

1. (vb.) To weep.
2. (adj.) Pissed.

Examples of usage:
1. Having grazed her knee, Emma gazzaed loudly.
2. After seven pints of lager, Frank was well and truly gazza-ed.'

NAYIM (n.)
A bizarre sexual act where ejaculant is thrown great distances.

Etymology - word is thought to have originated in Paris in the mid-1990s

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Meaning of LiFIFA - Part 2

Following the somewhat stunning success (in terms of comments and page views) of yesterday's initial 'The Meaning of LiFIFA' I have, like all good Hollywood producers, decided to try and mine this rich seam for as long as I possibly can, even with the knowledge that it is likely to be subject to the law of diminishing returns. I have therefore produced another set of new additions to the footballing vocabulary. - see below.
If it's anywhere near as successful as the first one, I'll keep on going until I either run out of ideas or you guys out there become bored with it all (that's right, a bit like Heroes).

MWEPU (n.)
A mental aberration, moment of madness

Example of usage - 'You'll have to forgive him, Archdeacon. He's clearly had a Mwepu. I'll get him to pull his trousers up now.'

Vengeance - derived from the little known Gallic version of the Greek goddess of divine retribution, Nemesis.

Example of usage - from an early draft of Samuel L Jackson's soliloquy in Pulp Fiction, by Quentin Tarantino: The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and a furious Cantona those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon you.
The reference to Cantona was dropped amid fears that it wouldn't be understood in Skipton.

To smooth the way (usually through coercion, intimidation or other nefarious means).
To be impervious to criticism, to not give a shit.

Example of usage (vb.) - 'I've just Blattered my teacher into giving me an A*' 
Example of usage (n.) - From FIFA's official nursery rhyme: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but nothing else will matter. I've got the job, I'm keeping it because I'm simply Blatter.

Little known Uruguayan delicacy consisting of the the fleshy forearm of a Serbian. Best eaten raw, apparently.

DICANIO (adj.)
Irrelevant. Something that can be easily dismissed (like a red card from a referee).

Example of usage - 'I don't care what you think about my decision to shave off all my pubic hair. Your  opinion is Dicanio.'

ALCOCK (vb.) 
To stagger back comically and fall over like a big pussy.

CHILES (vb.)
To talk utter bollocks e.g. 'It's pouring down and the ref is enjoying his moment in the sun'

Example of usage - 'The missus won't stop Chilesing while the football is on!'

Monday, 16 June 2014

The Meaning of LiFIFA - Creating a New Football Vocabulary

In 1983, the incomparable Douglas Adams (in conjunction with John Lloyd - no, not the tennis player) produced a small book called 'The Meaning of Liff'
The Meaning of Liff on Amazon
As an homage to the great man and his fantastic idea, I have created below a list of new footballing terms that will, I'm sure, soon come into standard usage to describe all those things within The Beautiful Game that currently do not have a noun or verb specifically assigned to them.

Warning - contains strong language and images that are liable to offend (or at least bring back painful memories!)

To spit at your opponent.

Example of usage - 'Ooh, look at that, he's done a Rijkaard right on the back of his head!'

KEANE (vb.)
To shout in the face of the referee when you disagree with his decision. Most effective when performed about four inches from the referee's face.

Example of usage - 'The full back is really Keaning the ref over his decision to award that free kick.'

A spectacular and unnecessary series of spins, flips and cartwheels, usually performed in the opponent's penalty area following contact equivalent to being side-swiped by a fly. Can be accompanied by a cry of agony that suggests a duodenal ulcer has just ruptured.

Example of usage - 'The centre-forward's done a Klinsmann in an attempt to win a penalty. What a knob!'

The wink of a smug bastard when you get an opponent sent off.

Example of usage - 'Is that a Ronaldo I see being performed - let's hope someone lamps him later!'

TWAT (n.)
Someone who performs Ronaldo against one of your team's players.

A petulant kick aimed at an opponent which gets you sent off. A Beckham is best performed when your team is playing well and looking like being victorious in a World Cup last-16 match. It is most effective when the player receiving the Beckham makes an absolute meal of the slightest of touches and there's a preening, self-important tit of a Danish referee to brandish the red card!

Example of usage - 'Oh no, he's done a Beckham!'

A type of pain felt in your face when a football (or anything else for that matter) hits you on a completely unrelated part of the body…like your thigh.

Example of usage - 'Looks like he's suffering from Rivaldo.'

ZIDANE (vb.)
To needlessly headbutt any Italian.

Example of usage - 'Ooh my, the centre-half's just Zidaned the opposition captain - nasty!'

The basic term for a cheating bastard.

Example of usage - 'He's been a right Maradona today!'

Please feel free to suggest others!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

The Ugly Truth about The Beautiful Game

Let's gone one thing straight.
Football is corrupt.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is either pitifully deluded or monumentally naive.

We've seen two examples of the superficial corruption of football in the last few days.
Firstly, there is the ongoing saga of the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar and the alleged greasing of a number of FIFA palms by one Mohamed Bin Hamman. Of course, Sepp Blatter and his cronies will no doubt continue to argue that a desert state, where summer temperatures are in the high 40s, which has no footballing pedigree and, at the time the world cup was awarded (before they shipped in a load of migrants and put them to work in conditions not unlike the Pharaohs used to consider best practice) no stadia, was the right and proper choice for the greatest footballing event in the world. And we won't even go into whether it should have gone to Russia in 2018!
Secondly, there was the decision by referee Nishimura to award a penalty to Brazil after 70 minutes of the opening match and, in so doing, go a long way to ensuring a much needed, morale-boosting victory for the host nation. Now everyone will have a view on whether there was sufficient contact for the amusingly named Brazilian striker Fred to go down as theatrically as he did, and everyone will have a view on whether the referee should have considered that to be worthy of a penalty or perhaps, more appropriately, a booking for the Brazilian for 'simulation' (or, as we Up North would call it, cheating). Conspiracy theorists will be able to argue long into the night about whether the referee had been 'nobbled', or whether he was looking to 'make his mark' on the game, or whether he was just too weak to pass up the chance to ingratiate himself with thousands of baying onlookers…who knows? But the fact remains that the instantaneous decision of one man, taken in the heat of the moment, more or less dictated the result of that game, a situation which, with all the technology now at the disposal of world sport, is simply unforgivable (and is, again, another example of the 'corruption' in football). In tennis, it is now possible to review where a ball travelling at 150 mph landed in relation to a painted line to an accuracy of a couple of millimetres - and yet in football they can't even determine with any certainty whether a player is offside (maybe because they're not even sure what the offside rule really is!!). For the last decade in rugby, it has been possible to review whether the ball has touched the ground and a try should be awarded - but in football, they've only just introduced the technology to figure out whether the ball has crossed the goal-line (four years too late for Frank Lampard and England!). And why, when it comes to critical decisions like penalty awards and goals being scored, why is it still beyond the wit of those who run football to pause the game, refer it to someone upstairs who has all this technology at their disposal, and take the time to get the decision right (like they do in cricket, for example…and please, spare me the argument about the third umpire still getting it wrong…it doesn't wash)?
Perhaps it's because the powers that be in 'the beautiful game' want the ambiguity and the uncertainty, because it makes the game easier to manipulate…

But there's one form of corruption of football that is, in my humble opinion, more insidious than either the grubby money grabbers at FIFA or the technological luddites…at FIFA. And this is becoming ingrained in the sport from the ridiculously paid 'professionals' right down the kids have a kick-about with jumpers for goalposts.
You see, my simplistic idea of sport is that it's about individuals, or a group of individuals, seeking acclaim and reward from their peers through the demonstration of natural talent, hard-earned skills, mental and physical toughness, and the strength of their determination to succeed. And all that is good, and should be encouraged, because these are the facets of mankind that push us all forward and make us all better.
But something has crept into sport in general, and into football most particularly, that has 'corrupted' this purist ideal.
The 'art' of deception.
It is no longer certain that a football team that has the most talented players, who have reached the peak of fitness, and who are managed by the most able football strategist, will be triumphant.
Because as Fred so ably demonstrated, even the best team can be defeated by those who have mastered the art of deception, have honed to perfection the ability to fool a gullible or corrupt official into awarding a penalty in the way that Fred managed to do, or getting another player sent-off by feigning a football hitting you in the face and rolling around as if you've been shot by a sniper (yes, I mean you, Rivaldo!!).
In other words, if you cheat better than everyone else, you'll probably win, and that, as a message to the wider world, is simply wrong.
And what's worse is the fact that when such blatant cheating takes place, no-one stands up and says 'Hey, that Fred who plays for Brazil, he's just a fucking cheat!!' Instead, pundits on television and in the newspapers and online use derisible euphemisms like 'he earned the penalty' or 'he drew the contact'. No, morons, what he did was gain an advantage by deceiving the referee and that, in anyone's book, is simply cheating…and I was always taught that Cheaters Never Prosper.
So if we fail to decry cheating when we see it, and if we begin to consider the ability to earn a free kick by throwing oneself on the floor and rolling around whilst screaming in agony, to be as important to success as dribbling or shooting or tackling, then the sport of football has succumb to the worst kind of corruption and I, for one, will simply stop watching it, because I prefer to watch something where the best of us is what counts, not the worst.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Andy's Magnificent Manifesto Section 1 - Voting

I have an opinion on most things. On some things, my opinion is particular strong.
One of the opinions I hold is that, given the chance, I could do a much better job at governing this great country of ours than any of those who either are trying to do so at the moment, or want to do so in the future. Yes, that may seem egotistical, but there's no reason why I should hide my light under the proverbial bushel when my light is so awesomely bright and illuminating!!

To back up the bold claim that I can govern better than anyone else, I am going to be setting out over the next few months (through the medium of this blog because I can't afford a party political broadcast) the policies that I would introduce on everything from immigration to the health service to education to law and order.
But be warned.
I have strong views on many of these issues and those views are likely to offend any lily-livered liberals who think we should just let everyone do what the hell they want and not worry about the consequences or who's going to pay for everything. Yes, you know who you are!

So, what's first in Andy's Manifesto?

I have a fairly uncluttered view on voting. As far as I am concerned, exercising an individual's right to vote MUST be a legal requirement. No ifs, no buts, no maybes. When you or I are asked to vote, then we must be legally bound to do it.
'But what about those who don't want to vote for anyone because nobody represents their values?' I hear the liberals cry. 'Forcing them to vote is an infringement on their freedom of choice!'
Well, if I had my way, every ballot paper will be given an additional option - that of 'Deliberately Spoiled'. That way, if no-one is representing your views, if no-one is offering to uphold your values and beliefs, then you can indicate this on your ballot paper by putting an x in the 'Deliberately Spoiled' box. Simple.
So why force people to vote?
Simple - too many brave men and women over the last century have sacrificed their lives to ensure we retain the right to decide who leads us. The fact that 6 out of 10 people in this country do not recognise that sacrifice and cannot be bothered to get up off their arses when the polls open is nothing short of a national disgrace, is an insult to the memory of those who gave everything to defend our freedom, and a damning indictment of the insidious malaise that has overtaken our society. It will also eliminate that intensely annoying tendency that some people have to moan about who's in power and what they're doing when they didn't even bother to vote themselves!!
So a trip to the polling station will be compulsory, and those who fail to make the effort (it's only once a year, for Christ's sake, and only once every FIVE year's for a general election!) will be fined...and it won't be the paltry $20 dollars that people get fined in Australia, it will be £500 along with the added bonus of a criminal record!

That's change number 1 to the voting system.
Change number 2 will be the abolition of postal voting. I'm afraid that if I had my way there will be no option other than to turn up at a polling station and put your x in the box of your choice. Deal with it!
The only exception to this would be those who had pre-registered for a 'home vote' (where two members of the independent body overseeing the election (and they would be independent, believe me!) would visit the individual at home to help them register their vote) - this would include the disabled, those with a medical condition and those too old or infirm to go out. Everyone else...well, it's put your shoes on and out you go.
'But why do this?' I hear the liberals cry from the cheap seats. 'Postal voting has been a huge success in ensuring people are not disenfranchised by their circumstances.'
Simple - postal votes are too open to abuse. With a postal vote, there is no way of ensuring that the individual has voted for whoever they want to vote for, without coercion or influence. How many people have someone else standing over them, pointing at the box they need to mark with one hand, waiting to slap them across the head with the other? If we don't believe that voting under duress takes place all across our nation, then we are just deluded!
That's why we need to get everyone into the sanctuary of the ballot booth. Once they're in there, it's just them, their beliefs, a ballot paper and a pencil. They can vote for whoever the hell they want in total secrecy without fear that their decision will ever be revealed to anyone.

To summarise: I believe we need to give everyone the freedom to vote as their conscience dictates, free from fear and coercion; but in doing so, we also have to make it clear that the opportunity to vote is a hard-earned privilege, not an absolute right.

So, there you have it.
The first section of what will be (if fatigue or indifference don't get the better of me in the months ahead) an undoubtedly long series of fabulous ideas and inspired policy changes that will, ultimately, make this fantastic country of ours a safe, prosperous and fair place to live...
Oh My God, did you see that...I started to use those same, hateful platitudes that our current politicians use - quick, someone stab me in the leg with a fork!!!

Monday, 2 June 2014

David Truscott - the man who puts the shit in fetishist

I've tried starting this post eight different ways as a means of introducing this news item but, to be honest, nothing I write can possibly embellish this story regarding what is probably the most disgusting man I have ever heard about.
So, rather than me rambling on inanely, I'll just let you read about it - click on the news headline link below:

Cow slurry fetishist David Truscott given jail term