Thursday, 21 December 2006

BNP article in today's Guardian

Today's daily email edition of the Guardian flopped into my inbox. It seems the current police investigations in Ipswich have satisfied the media by detaining two men who the press have freely named. Personally I think it's wrong to name these people in the media. If these men end up being freed and not found guilty of the crimes they will still be marked with that stigma for the rest of their lives. Innocent until proven guilty is not a phrase taken to heart by the public mob. I can still remember the events in 1999 when News of the World published names and locations of known paedophiles in the UK. Of course, being such an esteemed publication they took their time out to check the details were correct. And this didn't lead to any innocent members of the public being attacked by the angry mob..... But that is a rant for another time.

It appears the British National Party are applying some intelligence to their methods (apart from hiring a reporter from a left wing newspaper but hey we all make mistakes). The article details plans such as "Avoid using phrases such as black and white" and so on. Yes, anything to prevent us from appearing as a xenophobic small minded party that wants to preserve English national identity. I had a quick glance at the BNP's homepage and noticed their 'daily news' section. Muslim spokesman compares Britons to Nazis. As the aforementioned Muslim was a Scottish member of the Muslim Association, Osama Saeed, I had a quick read at the post. The last paragraph left me somewhat bemused when they referred to him as a "guest in our country" and a reminder that Muslims played a part in the SS. Yes, large numbers of non-Jewish ethnic groups joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) for a large number of reasons. Being a member got you a job, better wages and potentially better lifestyle. I am not supporting what the Nazis did but it is easy to see how people could fall under its spell. Mainland Europe was in a right state at this point due to the economy and recovery from WWI (again, how true that it was a 'world war' is a topic for another time).

In fact, joining the BNP does remind of the Secret Seven. Secret rendezvous, codewords and passwords - it does sound rather exciting! Maybe we get lashings of ginger beer at meetings. To be honest the Guardian article doesn't reveal much more than I already knew. It has small pockets of supports mainly in areas with high integrated ethnic minority populations. Its members are people who are pissed by that and tap into this 'myth' of British identity.

Friday, 15 December 2006

Andrea Dworkin will be spinning in her grave

Taken from this week's Popbitch email:

"Barbie is the top toy for girls in the US this

year. Nice to see feminism is alive and well."

Just to extend on this quote, the rise in 'fem feminism' could attribute to large sales numbers for Barbie. Or it could be the US is reinforcing tradition gender stereotypes. For Christmas, girls get a plastic blonde to aspire to whilst boys receive 'manly' toys such as cars and pesudo power tools.

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Bah Humbug!

You know, as I get older I am starting to really loathe Christmas. When you're a university student Christmas is the tiny bit of breathing space you're given between 'essay season' and revision for exams.

My mood was not helped by events this morning. Anyone in the Glasgow area will know the weather is...well awful at the moment. However, I had decided today was my day for non-Internet Christmas shopping and that was that.

My first purchase involved being given a paper carrier bag. I'm all for paper carrier bags because they can be put into the recycling bin after use. But come on, marketing people. Don't you realise that Scotland only sees rain and gale force winds between September and June? Not the best weather to be handing out environmentally friendly bags. As a result the extremely large bag had become rather soggy and ripped to pieces before I had got halfway down the street.

Now, I do enjoy buying presents. Most of the time. Imagine wonderful, soft music playing behind this next section. It's lovely to see someone you care about tear open the wrapping paper and be overjoyed with a purchase you've made for them. You can choose to ignore the old woman you knocked over to get to it or the largest queue known to man you hand to stand in to buy the best thing since sliced bread. The little cute smile on their face is all the reward you need.

Or is it?

Whilst battling gale force winds and my paper bag, I received a text from a friend I'm meeting next week. The end of the text struck fear into my heart. "Have just bought your prezzie. Hope you like it!" Bugger. This person was not on my Christmas present list. Bugger, bugger, bugger. I know this situation is turned into a 'comical' tale to moan about at parties (see Bridget Jones - the aspirational model for 'strong' women in their 30s) but it's not bloody funny. It's not that you don't like the person in question (though I'm debating that at the moment) but they're not on the sacred present list. My mother's sacred list numbers in the hundreds. The spare bedroom looks like an outlet for Boots and Marks and Spencers. I can hardly talk, my present pile looks like a promo stand for Borders and Lush.

Christmas is getting wildly out of hand. The Mothership asked me a few months ago what I wanted for Christmas. To be honest, I'm in my twenties now and I know the only fat bearded man bringing me presents is my dad. I replied I didn't know which sent her into a meltdown. "How about a new Ipod?" The one I've got is fine. "How about a year's cinema pass?" I'm a third year student, my social life ended months ago. Why do you think I own so many DVDs?

This potential end to Christmas presents is an excellent idea. No longer will people have to pretend polka dot socks is exactly the garment they have been missing from their wardrobe. No longer will you have to stand in a queue on Boxing Day (actually, many stores have signs up saying they will not accept any returns before December 28th) to return clothing two sizes too small. Or have the humiliation of admitting that diet you've been following since January was broken on holiday three months ago.

I broke down to my mother's demands and have asked for a goat. Sadly I won't have it in my back garden but it shall be sent off somewhere via a developing world charity. However I have recently discovered my parents have invested in some sort of irrigation system instead. Apparently the goat is a 'nice idea' to us urban Westerners but is more trouble than it's worth. But if anyone asks, I'm getting a goat. It's more exciting than saying an irrigation system ;-)

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Safe to walk the streets?

Two stories in the news have been disturbing me somewhat. Their content is about horrible events but it is the reaction or interpretation of them that is making me annoyed. The first one is the news story about the 'serial killer' in Ipswich'. I would like to note on today's lunchtime news on BBC1 the police remarked they might be dealing with a serial killer. By tonight's evening new slot, it had been changed to they were dealing with a serial killer. Anyway, the parts that annoy me are comments such as "Assistant Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer urged women, particularly in the party season, not to go out at night alone." So far most of the women that have been unfortunately killed have been prostitutes working in the red light district. While I am not trying to belittle the crimes that have been taken place, this warning to ALL women has left me with an uneasy feeling. It reminds me of Contagious Diseases Act of 1864 where women could be arrested on the assumption they were a prostitute. It's almost making me laugh when the police advise female prostitutes to stay off the streets. The large majority of women involved in prostitution are not involved through choice. They can't just pull a 'sickie' if they don't want to go to work. I am a firm believer in looking at the entrance reasons surrounding women's involved in prostitution such as drug addiction, economic reasons etc. But this case appears to be labelling ALL women as being vulnerable. Looking at the women already murdered or believe missing this person is working to a certain profile. This is based on my own speculation that if it's a man carrying out the crimes then he disassociates prostitutes from other women. They are seen as a release valve for possible sexual tension and therefore not in the normal female category of mother, girlfriend and so on.

Please feel free to correct my amateur psychology ;-)

I do think the message of 'Look after your mates' is very important though, regardless of gender. Making sure they get a taxi home or send you a text when they're through their front door is a decent thing to do. But using this case as a way of highlighting it is the wrong way of going about it. Women are going to be offended and think "Well, I'm not a prositute so I'm safe." They might not necessarily be victims of the above 'serial killer' (whose nickname is no doubt being coined by a national tabloid as I type) but that doesn't mean they're safe from other factors such as a physical assault or other crimes.

Which brings me onto the other news story.

A young woman was raped after getting into a fake private taxi. I know this is a bigger problem in England but, as far as I am aware, it has only recently been highlighted in the Scottish media. Now the internet version includes more information than the original Teletext version I saw. The woman in question walked from Cube to the Radisson Hotel. Now, that is at least a 10 minute walk to the other end of the town. The Radisson Hotel is part of Glasgow's red light district, ironically. It is possible the private hire company told her to walk to the Raddisson (the end of the Argyle Street she was originally on is a one way street and few taxi companies will pick you up from there) but highly doubtful. There are many holes in this story but I admire the girl for reporting it. All in all a rather unease connected to current stories in the media.

Why I'm doing this

I have a Livejournal and have done since I was 16. However, I have found I have wanted to broadcast my opinions further than my Livejournal friends list and to other friends who do not have access to Livejournal.

Does this mean I have a manifesto?