Monday, 18 October 2010

The Hobbit - How To Fuck It Up

Give it a budget of $500million. And make that a central point of your early PR. A big budget can't make a good film, but it can damn sure breaks one (isn't that right Avatar).

I also find it mildly offensive for a film company that was just bailed out with taxpayer money is now crowing about spending half a billion dollars on - of all things - a movie that isn't even cast yet.

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Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Truth About Islamic Militants

So some genius in the depths of the Christian USA (Florida to be precise) has come up with the bright idea of having this year's anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks be the first annual 'Burn A Qur'an Day'. In any rational world this would reflect worse on the antagonist than it doesn't on its target, but we all well know that we don't live in a rational world (it's also hard for the Christian Right in America to fall any further in the eyes of the global public anyway).

But it is what Burn A Qur'an Day reveals about Islamic militants that is most interesting. Cast your minds back to earlier this year, when South Park had it's 200th show anniversary. The plot centred in a large part around Muhammad; they wanted to show him, but couldn't so he spent the episode in a bear costume. And people got worked up about it. That's right, Islamic militants got worked up about the idea that Muhammad might be wearing a bear costume and that that bear costume is bring shown on television. In a cartoon. Next episode it is revelaed that it was Santa Claus inside the bear costume, not Muhammad, thus exposing the ridiculousness of the argument against the show.

But the damage had already been done.

A group of rather vocal self christened Islamic militants insinuated that if Comedy Central (the network on which the show airs) showed Muhammad then there would be serious repurcutions. They published addresses of Comedy Central offices, as well as the home addresses of Parker and Stone (South Park's creators), and warned that they could not be held accountable for what might happen.

The stunt worked, they got airtime on all the major news networks, and Comedy Central bowed its head and heavily censored the following episode (it was a 2 parter), to the point where they bleeped every utterance of Muhammad's name (way to stand up for those freedoms you believe in by the way). The bullies won. Again.

Fast forward to now, with Burn A Qur'an Day fast approaching. Where are the voices of dissent? Where are the threats of violence? Where is the publishing of home addresses? Nowhere to be seen. What Burn A Qur'an Day - for all its bigoted ugliness - has done, is expose the true face of Western Islamic militancy.

They're attention seeking media whores. Nothing more.

Burn A Qur'an Day is something - it's safe to say - that is deeply offensive to Muslims and non Muslims alike (hence the pre sure from various religious leaders and the White House to call it off) and something that is far more reactionary and provocative than showing a cartoon of Santa, who's pretending to be Muhammad, in a bear suit. But it is not being jump on by Islamic militants to claim to fight for Allah. Why is that?

Because, quite frankly, there is no news story attached to it. Attacking - verbally or otherwise - the organisers of a small church in Florida would not garner headiness like threatening celebrities and major media networks would. Attacking those participating in the event, an event that most sane people agree is ugly and wrong, will not galvanise public opinion against you, your motives could be understood. And - unlike Liberals - attacking these people involved in Burn. A Qur'an Day would not stop them; they wouldn't back down and they wouldn't give up.

Muslim militants like to fight battles that they know they can win, that will galvanise opinion against them and that will give them a lot of media coverage. Starting a fight with the organisers of Burn A Qur'an would accomplish none of these things.

Media outlets are not really interested in the event. Glenn Beck is holding a mega rally in Alaska on the same day, purported to be the event where Sarah Palin will announce her 2012 presidential bid. Compared to that, a bunch of racist, intolerant Southern Christians are not exactly newsworthy (they're hardly doing anything different than usual).

For the same reason - the fact that they're racist, intolerant, Southern Christians - a fight is unwinnable. The usual suspects of Islamic militancy know that they won't be able to get the organisers and supporters to back down, so it isn't a battle they could crow about winning in the name of Islam; in fact it would only prove that the resolve of the Christians was greater than that of the Muslims, as they refused to back down in the face of threatened violence because of their faith in their God. So our Islamic friends are 0 for 2.

The final point is that it doesn't turn people against them. This is very important. The heart of Islamic Fundamentalism is not about 'winning should for Allah' it's about killing everyone who isn't a believer, and subjugating the survivors to the iron rule of the Islamic caliphate. They are a lot like the Westboro Baptist Church (the God Hates Fags crew) in this respect.

The WBC originally started picketing abortion clinics, but this did not set them out from the crowd. Then they started attacking homosexuals. This was a bit better, but still didn't net them the notoriety they craved. In attacking dead soldiers they were able to galvanise everyone against them. They're finally hated the way they want to be.

Islamic fundamentalists are the same. They need to be hated. They need to be loathed. Attacking something like a mass Qur'an burning is somewhat understandable. Threatening to attack a cartoon show isn't. One will get people on your side, the other won't. And it's the won't that they crave.

The won't gets them more airtime, the won't gets them more angst, the won't confirms that they are the righteous few in their fight against the unbelievers. It's the need to be seen, be hated and be heard. All the time. If you can't get on the air with something, it's not worth the battle. For this reason it proves that the actual cause of these people has nothing to do with their faith. What offends their faith is not what motivates them, it's what offends everyone else and how publicity they can get for it that drives them.

Offend the unbelievers, get the news headlines, win the battles, and when Allah sees the papers, he'll know how good a Muslim you are.

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Friday, 20 August 2010

Religious Hypocrisy

Just a little thought; why is it that the religious and the Conservative always think that the freedoms of society that are offered to them as rights are negotiable when it comes to people that don't think like they do? Go look for consistency in Conservatism or religion.

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Sunday, 25 July 2010

The Afghan War Logs

What is so important about the Wikileaks release of the 92'000 classified American documents is the light that they shine on the true nature of the Afghan war. What quickly becomes apparent, even from looking at the brief details, is what a lost cause the Afghan incursion really is. Maybe if War Criminals Bush and Blair hadn't bungled into their illegal war in Iraq, things may have been remained stable. But history is what it is, and Afghanistan is a lost cause.

We see that our 'ally' Pakistan appears to be funding the Taliban, we see that a paranoid US force are resulting to more and more desperate and reckless methods in an effort to fight back.

Is it not yet clear that the war is lost? The media has been dutifully reporting the talking points handed done to it by the military, without question, but it is now unable to ignore the truth of the situation; Afghanistan is a mess.

That is what is so important about this event; the truth is out. Governments can spin, cover up or deny the facts any more. They have to be bought to account and made to answer for them. Do not be fooled by the immediate Pentagon response; revealing that Pakistan is supporting the Taliban or that drone strikes are becoming more frequent endangers no one on the ground. It only damages the military in charge.

What, it could be argued, is damaging is the revelation that US troops have been more or less killing indiscriminately whenever they've felt threatened. This is the same as the attempted cover up of torture. It makes America look bad. If the nations leaders cared at all about the safety of their troops then they wouldn't be in Afghanistan, no what their concerned about is how it makes the, look in the eyes of their own people. It makes them and the American story look like hypocritical crap that it is, and they don't like it.

The question now falls to the media. To what level will they cover it? I have little doubt that the British media will feature it, but to what level will pressure be applied to our leaders? On the other side of the pond, I have much graver doubts. There will be nothing but desperation to silence this issue as quickly and with little fuss as possible.

The fact that the information is now out, uncensored and raw is important. It falls to the media to actually do their job of journalism and make our leaders answer for the raw facts of what is happening. Make them answer for the hundreds of unnecessary deaths that are down to a war of their choosing that cannot be won. And maybe we can also now get someone to seriously address the issue of Pakistan for once.

The genie is out of the bottle and the public knows the truth. Let's see if OUR media will let them put it back in again.

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Location:Sutton Court Rd,Hounslow,United Kingdom

Thursday, 22 July 2010

David Cameron And World War 2

David Cameron, are you fucking kidding me? Britain was a 'junior partner' in WW2 in 1940? Really? Now I'm not crazy for patriotism but fuck you. In 1940 Britain was the only thing between the Nazi's and all of fucking Europe you asshole. In 1940 America, the country whose cock you currently seem so keen to suck, still couldn't decide if it would be worth entering into a war that had nothing to do with them (how times change). In 1940, Churchill and the British populace were living the nation's finest hour. And you have the insane audacity to call our role at that time that of the 'junior partner'?! Unbelievable. If you can say something like that, out of ignorance or on purpose, you are not fit to be Prime Minister.

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Location:Sutton Court Rd,Hounslow,United Kingdom

Friday, 16 July 2010

Apple's Press Conference

Only Apple could take a problem that has been staggeringly unique to their product and try to shift the blame onto the entire industry. RIM haven't had any reports of signal problem in any of thrill phones, neither have Samsung, HTC, Motorola or Nokia. Even Apple didn't have reports it with the iPhone 3G or 3GS. You can't release 'the best phone ever' and say it's light years ahead of everything else and then whine and bitch and try to blame anything else humanly possible when it comes to light that you knew about the problem, weren't interested in fixing it and it bites you (deservedly) on the ass. Still, at least they've offered free cases, and they gave the correct response (in the end).

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Location:Coventry,United Kingdom

Saturday, 3 July 2010

The Tea Party: A European Perspective

The phenomenon that is the Tea Party has swept across America like a bizarre epidemic of all that is internationally fascinating and shocking about the country.

We from across the pond and around the world hear some of the more stunning examples of their influence in political circles. Very few actually know who they are and what their purpose is. And I suppose they have something in common with the Tea Party themselves as a result; because the members of Tea Party don't seem to know either.

We hear talk of 'Taking our country back!' Something that is rarely asked in the American media is 'From what?' What do these people want to take their country back from? 'The socialists!' 'The Liberals!' And so on. Anyone from a European country can tell you though, the current Democratic power base across the country is nowhere near socialist, and barley liberal (indeed, the actual liberals in the House and Senate all seemed to be viewed in the media as some kind of anomaly).

See, the members of the Tea Party, the alleged grass roots of the movement, don't seem to understand many of the subjects that it is they are screaming about. They shout of socialism, fascism, communism, liberalism. We hear charges of the President being a 'fascist communist', the shouters of which seem incapable of understanding the amazing deficit of political intelligence it requires to make that statement.

And that it is where we hit on something is so important about the Tea Party. Possibly the most important thing. So many of its members seem absolutely bereft of the very basics of political though. As highlighted in Chris Matthews' excellent documentary 'The Rise Of The New Right' recently, so many of the members of the Tea Party freely admit to being complete political newcomers. Now, where there is nothing wrong with people who have previously never been involved with politics getting involved - rather it is a good thing - it does become a problem when they revel in their ignorance and have no desire to expand their political knowledge.

This is where the crux of the problem lies with the Tea Party. You have vast swathes of people who have heard so many different things through the news media and who have made no effort to understand what these statements mean. They hear them from various sources, but their method of explanation is not research, it is not reasoned, balanced political debate, it is whatever explains the idea easiest. And, I'm afraid, those ideas are explained easiest by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or Fox News.

Glenn, Rush et al. actually have a very different agenda. They are personalities known across the United States, but they are not known for reasoned commentary. They do not explain things, they give their own very partisan opinions on them. They portray themselves as the bastions of freedom, truth and liberty, though they are anything but. Rush and Fox are spokesmen for the extremes of the Conservative movement and Glenn Beck is the most easily manipulated, paranoid, woefully ignorant figure with a messiah complex I have seen in recent years.

They are the spokespeople for this movement, they are the figureheads, and the new uninitiated, who come to the Tea Party with curious ears and unfounded worries lap up the words of Beck, Rush and their ilk without question. They have never been interested in politics, and now they hear easy, clear answers to seemingly complex political issues they think they have found a home. They quickly think themselves experts because they hear so many opinions on so many different subjects that they take as fact.

And thus the machine grows, the distortions permeate. It is accepted without question by people who do not and have not ever strived to grasp the complexities of political discourse. While someone like George Will may not be the most bipartisan member of the political commentary machine, one could not argue that he is not an intelligent man. Far from it. But George Will does not speak to the likes of the Tea Party. He is rarely listened to by them. The answers he has to their questions may be along the lines of what they want to hear, but they are not given in the easily digestible chunks that the likes of Beck may throw out.

Even Republicans are no longer safe. Senator Lyndsey Graham, a longtime bastion of conservative values, has been turned upon by the Tea Party, for he has refused to bow to their demand to simple answers to complex questions. He has refused to toe the line of outright obstructionism. And he has refused to bow to simplistic political solutions to massive problems. Graham in turn, has revelled in turning on them. Indeed, he seems to be enjoying his new found 'maverick' status.

And it has been Graham that has been so keen to point out the question that we asked at the beginning of this article. What do the Tea Party want to take their country back from? We know it is not socialists because there are none - they are imagined. We know it is not communists or liberals. They are not the people in power right now. The people in power are merely seeking to end the corporate lobby's stranglehold on America. It should come as no shock that the Tea Party is funded by so many very rich people with very close ties to the corporate machine.

But do the grassroots members of the Tea Party brigade question this? Do they even acknowledge it? No. They brush it off, as with so many things, as a smear attack by the 'liberal media', a charge that is as ridiculous as it is false. They are told it is a smear attack, usually by the biggest name in news - a conservative news network (so much for liberal media) and they believe it. They do not question it, they do not even attempt to look at it from another angle. They just accept it.

So it becomes clear that the Tea Party doesn't really know what they want to take their country back from. They are being told that it is time to take their country back and they repeat it. No questions, no challenges, just repeat.

And once they have their country back, what do they do with it? The people that control the Tea Party have no further plan other than destroying those who wish to put checks on their interests, influence and power. So the grassroots don't know what it is that they are going to do.

What it seems that they (the grassroots) want to move into is a Christian state, where corporations have unfettered power and no regulation. They want a world without Government intrusion into their lives, where the media is allowed to broadcast only what they agree with and the liberal scum that they believe infect their society are banished. The will not have to put up with a secular agenda, they will not have to put up with a gay agenda, they will not have to put up with a liberal agenda. History can be distorted to fit their patriotic agenda, and the ugly truth of America's history will be whitewashed with a coat several coats of red, white and blue.

So what they seem to be wanting is the very definition of a fascist state. The fascist state that they seem so keen to tell the rest of the world that they are worried they are heading towards.

They just aren't interested in understanding that it I'd their movement that is heading there.

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Location:Sutton Court Rd,Hounslow,United Kingdom

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The Budget - A brief Rant

Okay, less than a day after it was unveiled I'm officially fed up of Labour and others moaning about the budget. When asked whether they want tax increases or spending cuts, people always say spending cuts. When asked what spending on services they want to cut, they say none of them. Osbourne, though he is an evil manchild, produced a tough but fair budget.

People didn't want tax increases, so there weren't any. What appeared instead were big spending cuts and a rise in VAT. People want to reduce the debt and have lower taxes and increased public spending at the same time. As Bill Maher said 'That's like thinking getting a hand job will clean the garage.' Someone had to act like a grownup, and Labour was kicking the ball downfield when they were in power to avoid any unpopularity (though why a bunch of international law breakers, supporters of war crimes and establishers of a modern police state would care about being unpopular I don't know), or risk losing the election. Though I am loathe to admit it, the Tories (and the Liberals) were the grownups we needed. So stop fucking moaning.

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Location:Sutton Court Rd,Hounslow,United Kingdom

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Nintendo's Genius

Watching the E3 media briefings this week, it quickly comes apparent the kind of value that a history of game design has.

Sony, as a power in the video game world is only 15 or so years old. Microsoft is only 10. Nintendo is 25. The grandfather of modern console gaming is proving, in the HD age, why it is setting the agenda, not the power houses.

Nintendo has come a long way. It reinvented the wheel in the '80s with the Nintendo Entertainment System, a newfangled 'console' that was built solely to play games. It gave us Super Mario Brothers, a revelation. It gave us Zelda, the first computer game that actually allowed you to save your progress through the game.

These things were revelatory. It then simply upped the horsepower with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (my first video games console) and produced some of the greatest classics in gaming history - Starfox, Super Metroid, Super Mario World.

But it was then that Sony reared its head and forced Nintendo to adapt. They game up with the first fully 3D game ever created; Super Mario 64, and followed it with games like Goldeneye 007 and Conker's Bad Fur Day, two other games that had a massive impact on the way we play games.

As using a console to play DVDs and act as a media centre became more popular, Nintendo seemed to start slipping behind. They produced the Gamecube to compete with the PS2 and original XBox. They announced that their unnamed followup would not be an HD console. It seemed as if they were losing their way.

No, they were reinventing the wheel again.

The Gamecube gave us the first wireless controller, the Wavebird. It's follow up is a little white box called the Wii.

Enough has been written about the Wii to explain it's revolutionary success. The sales figures speak for themselves (in Japan it outsells the PS3 and XBox 360 6:1). All there is to say that in the purported age of HD, online gaming, the little white box with sticks for controllers, no HDMI and fairly bog standard networking abilities is the market leader.

Which brings us to this week' E3. While Microsoft and Sony are showing off Kinect and Move, their own motion control toys, Nintendo debuted the 3DS. The world's first - and only - fully 3D gaming device (we can also note here that despite having half the horse power of the PSP the original Nintendo DS is the second best selling gaming system of all time, having sold over 129million units).

As Microsoft and Sony are playing catchup (and to be fair to them Microsoft's Kinect is pretty revolutionary) Nintendo is taking strides - once again - into the unknown.

They turned gaming on it's head with the NES, Gameboy and Nintendo 64, and then suffered as they waited for technology to catch up to their next great visions; the DS and Wii. Nintendo's lean years of 1998-2004 were spent biding their time, waiting for the right moment to do what they have always done best: not just lead the market, but invent it.

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Tuesday, 15 June 2010


I'm hearing a lot about the drama surrounding BP at the moment; how their market value is dropping like a stone and their dividends are getting swept away.

Quite frankly, I don't care.

I cannot understand the obsession in the British media and amongst some of the British political class with defending Britain from what they deem to be obsessive attacks from America. Criticising BP is not anti-British. It's anti-planet destroying corporations. That corporation just happens to be based in the UK.

The people who are saying that Obama's attacks are risking British pensions are, quite frankly, idiots. Would these same people tell off a rape victim because several people happened to have money invested in the rapist?

It is the fault of the pension companies who invested such a massive amount of cash into a single company. If BP collapsed in Enron like circumstances would people be arguing about pensions then? No.

It's an effort to protect arguably one of the biggest British businesses from being regulated and punished by the Obama administration. BP deserves everything it gets. On average, the five other major oil companies average about 5-7 safety violations a year. BP has clocked up over 700. They are in a league of their own. They are environmental criminals and the people in charge deserve to be in prison.

Safety violation after safety violation. Environmental disaster after environmental disaster. And we keep letting them off because they pay a lot of tax. They are the modern East India Trading Company; a modern monolith that thinks it is too big to be stopped.

Pride goeth before a fall. And hopefully BP will fall hard.

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Location:Alwyn Ave,Hounslow,United Kingdom

Monday, 14 June 2010

Let's Try Mobile Blogging

So, I haven't updated this blog in months, mainly because I haven't written anything substantive in over a year, due to the myriad of other things that have been going on in my life over the past twelve months or so.

I'm going to try and re-engage though, and instead of blogging only lengthy articles I'm going to try and make this an expanded version of my Facebook/Twitter feed; in that I shall take that 120 character thought that I'm consigned to on there and expanded on it through here. We can all thank the iPad and iPhone for this.

I doubt these posts will reach anywhere near the length of my previous stuff, but I think it'll be interesting to produce short comments about whatever I feel like, no more than an A4 page or so and see how things go from there.

The revolution was yesterday.

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Location:Alwyn Ave,Hounslow,United Kingdom

Monday, 3 May 2010

Why I Am Supporting The Liberal Democrats

Over the past several weeks and months I have come to regard the British Election of 2010 as one of the most important of our time; certainly the most important that anyone in my generation has ever witnessed or been able to participate in. There are multiple reasons for this; the fact that the thirteen year Government of the Labour party has dramatically reshaped and redefined the social, economic and political landscape of this nation, the fact that the televised debates have done more to usurp the traditional media managed power of Fleet Street, and the fact that for the first time in almost a century, we are seeing a genuine three party race, between Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s incumbent Labour party, David Cameron’s newly invigorated Conservatives, and Nick Clegg’s dark horse Liberal Democrats.

I will be voting for the Liberal Democrats, for a number of reasons. I would like to explain why.

First things first: anyone that knows me knows that I am a passionate and staunch holder, supporter and defender of progressive, left wing, liberal values. It should come as no surprise then that I would choose to vote for a progressive, left wing party. What you may not know was that the first time I was old enough to vote, I voted for William Hague’s Conservatives in the 2001 General Election. I did not vote in the 2005 election. I do not believe in voting for a party because you always have. I think that is foolish and wrong. I believe in voting for who has the best policies.

So, Left Winger, Why Not Labour?

The Labour party, which has traditionally called itself the party of the left and the progressives of Britain will not be getting my vote for a number of reasons. Under Tony Blair, and later Gordon Brown, Labour became New Labour, and shifted dramatically to the right of politics. Out went the left wing values and in came corporatism, big Government, security states and spin.

For all the talk of papers like The Daily Mail and The Times of Labour having eroded the traditional values of Britain, the truth is that Labour have done more to uphold the concerns of the traditional supporters of the right than anyone could have imagined. The Government of Blair, now Brown, is not a progressive party. They have presided over a bloated Government full of corruption, lies, broken promises and pandering to big business. Though they are desperately trying to portray themselves as the party of progressives in order to take the thunder away from the Liberal Democrats, they are anything but that. Having resisted reform and progress (on a Governmental level) for over a decade, they are a party trying to conserve their established grip on power more than anyone else. They have had thirteen years to try and make things better, and while their contributions to a more equal society should no be overlooked, after the last five years of incompetent bumbling, it is time that they were shown the door.

The Labour Government was also the one that took us into the horribly misguided adventure in Iraq and Afghanistan, two wars that were stupid and unnecessary. These two wars - one which was bungled from the start and cannot be won, another that was opposed by the vast majority of the British electorate and was sold to Parliament on lies, deception, falsehoods, more deception, more lies and done so with a concerned look and smile on the face of the trickster that sold it - both at the behest of Labour’s masters in the United States, are reasons in themselves why no one should consider voting for the Labour party. The lies of the current Government have caused the deaths of hundreds of British soldiers and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and Afghans. They also broke international treaties and laws and threw over a century of British discipline and law on the battlefield out of the window by overseeing the illegal extradition, interrogation and even torture of foreign nationals deemed to be ‘enemy combatants’, and then trying to lie about it and cover it up. In the interim they may also have murdered Dr David Kelly, but thanks to their draconian security laws and obscene abuses of power, no one that is old enough to vote now will ever know what happened, as the records relating to the case have been sealed for the next 60 years. And all of this, this abandoning of the behavior that made this nation the envy of the world, was done for no good reason. This alone should disqualify anyone involved in that Government from receiving your vote.

Okay, What About The ‘New’ Conservative Party Then?

The support of the Tories for the Iraq war should also disqualify the majority of the Conservative party from receiving your vote, though there are a great number of other reasons why they are not deserving of Government.

I do not hide the fact that I vehemently dislike the nature of conservatism. I think that it holds us back, that it appeals to the base, self preservation nature in all of us, that it is inherently selfish and unconcerned with others. The current iteration of the Conservative party, under the leadership of David Cameron, has done a great many things to appear as if they they have changed from these core sets of beliefs. But they have not. They are the same Conservatives that they always been.

What Cameron proposes to do is take us back to the days of Thatcher. To take us back to the greed fueled days of the 1980s, the decade when the baby boomers oversaw the royal ruining of this country and the global economy. As seen in the last televised leaders debate, David Cameron ceaselessly ignored and dodged questions posed to him regarding his intent to cut the taxes of the richest 3’000 people in this country, his desire to cut public spending immediately and give tax breaks to big business, his intention to put a nonsensical cap on immigration and practically close British borders and his proposed withdrawal from Europe and intent to turn Britain into a semi-isolationist state in Europe. One only needs to look at the frequent trips of the Shadow Chancellor George Osbourne to the private yachts of several billionaires in the Mediterranean, many of whom would directly benefit from an isolationist Britain that favors big business. It doesn’t require much insight to put the pieces together.

Cameron, like the Tory party of old, has no interest in helping or supporting workers or the poor. He would like to break the unions like Thatcher once did, hand the rights and lives of employees over to their profit driven employers, cut tens of thousands of public sector jobs and force everyone to work for a year longer before they get the opportunity to retire. This forced extension of the age of retirement has nothing to do with allowing the elderly to put more money into their pension funds, but rather it’s purported aim is to reduce the national deficit. Though how working for private companies for another year would do that I am not sure.

You only have to look at the current Tory party to see how disingenuous they are about representing everyone and building a fair ‘Big Society’. They intend to keep and expand the surveillance state built by new Labour, but roll back the equal rights of millions of single parents and gay men and women across the country. As the Tories set about giving tax breaks to married couples, the middle finger is raised to those seeking a divorce, those who were never married or those who are gay.

One can also remember that the Tories’ same old virulent homophobia is as strong as ever. Though it is carefully hidden beneath a shiny veneer of tolerance, one only needs to look here ( and here ( to see that this is a lie. Look at the recent scandals that have emerged in the press; Chris Grayling saying bed and breakfasts should be able to discriminate against homosexuals and Conservative MP Philippa Stroud, who founded a church to try and ‘cure’ gay men and women. One can also look at this video ( to see how Mr Cameron cannot even get his facts straight about the voting of his own MEPs in their support for the incredibly homophobic laws in Eastern Europe when challenged on it.

The more one scratches beneath the surface, the more one can see that nothing about the Conservative party has changed. They are the same old party they ever were.

So that leaves us with the Liberal Democrats, and why I choose to vote for them.

The Liberal Moment

The Liberal Democrats have long been the party of ‘Well I’d like to vote for them, but there’s no point. They won’t win.’ All that changed on April 15 this year, when Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg stole the first televised debate. My mind had been made up about voting for the Liberal Democrats for several weeks beforhande, but I was ecstatic to see Clegg dominate Cameron and Brown and show why a real progressive voice, free from the need to serve its backscratchers in the media or corporate bankrollers, is so desperately needed in this country. But it is not the performance of Clegg, or the prophetic financial ability of his proposed Chancellor Vince Cable that makes me vote for them. It is their policies.

To start, let’s clear up the most frequently misrepresented of their policies. First we have the immigration amnesty. This is not, as Brown, Cameron and many in the media have tried to spin it, an opening of Britain’s borders giving citizenship to anyone that wants to come in. The proposal is this; a one off, one time offer to illegal immigrants who have lived in this country for ten years or more, that they may take this opportunity to apply for citizenship. If they can prove that they can speak English and contribute to society, they will be granted (subject to a full background check) British citizenship.

This would take immigrants out of the hands of the people that may be hiding them, owning them or bankrolling them, and will allow them to contribute to the society that they have been hiding amongst for the last decade. This, in my opinion, is a far superior solution to Labour’s intention to use yet more surveillance to solve an out of control problem, or the Conservative plan to round up and throw out illegal immigrants and then close the borders. This would allow a Liberal Government to figure out roughly how many immigrants are in this country - illegally - and potentially create several hundred thousand new tax payers.

The second policy that is misrepresented, is the intention to review Trident. Brown, Cameron and the media have repeatedly portrayed this as a Liberal intention to scrap Britain’s nuclear deterrent. That is patently untrue. It is fear mongering. What the Liberal Democrats have proposed is a review of the vastly expensive program, a review that could save billions of pounds and reduce Britain’s over-bloated, Cold War style nuclear armament, in favor of tactical weapons with far more diverse use. Again, this is a smart move. Labour and the Conservatives would not take it because they know it could be spun to make them seem weak on defense. It is not. It will potentially save £100billion. It is smart.

Other policies I support are the reduction of classroom sizes and the additional assistance offered to underprivileged and struggling schoolchildren. I support the fair taxing of banks, the super-rich and large businesses. I support the increased Government regulation of industry. I support the intention to scrap tax on the first £10’000 anyone earns. I support their intention to stand as equals in the special relationship with America and not just roll over to U.S demands. I support their desired integration into Europe. I support their reworking of the prison service by making anyone that would be sentenced to 60 days in prison do community service projects, rather than bloat our already struggling jails. I support the linking of basic state pension and earnings. I support the breaking up of the banks and forcing them to lend again. I support the scrapping of university tuition fees for first time students. I support the scrapping of the £3billion Eurofighter program. I support the cutting of rail fairs. I support the proposal to reform the World Bank and IMF. I support the cancelation of 100% of the debt owed by the world’s poorest countries.

I support all these policies, but most of all I support the intention to reform the voting system. We do not, as the Tories claim, need a reduction in the number of MPs. We need to reform the system. Proportional representation is important. It is needed. Because of the current system, Labour - who almost lost the popular vote in 2005 - gained a sizeable number of seats and increased their power. Because of the current system, the Liberal Democrats may win the popular vote this election, but may only gain several dozen seats. The Conservatives and Labour have no interest in proportional representation, because it would break the stranglehold they both have on the current system. But the current system is unfair and broken. It leads to career politicians, it leads to things like the expenses scandal, it leads to the two party system that the majority of the populace have no faith in. It needs to be overhauled so things are fair.

That, more than anything, is what I believe the Liberal Democrats stand for and are offering. Fairness, and a chance to change the way things are. For too long the electorate has been scared of change, but dissatisfied with the way things are. Now is the chance to change this. Now is the chance to actually do something different. Something that benefits the many, not the few. Now is the time.

I am voting Liberal Democrat. I implore you to do the same.