Thursday, 25 June 2009

Hypocrisy 101

The astute amongst you will already have realised what a raving hypocrite I am.

In one post I make reference to the BBC's "Have Your Say" message board and in another I state that I'm unwilling to be forced into funding them. So whilst chastising politicians for claiming expenses that were "within the rules", at the very same time I've been watching the BBC's iPlayer, using their news website and posting on their "Have Your Say" section. All for free and gratis, paid for by those who cough up for a TV licence ... because "it's within the rules guv don'tcha know".

Damn! I hate catching myself out in hypocrisy ... especially when I'm stupid enough to do it on-line. Well it stops right now. As of today I'm now boycotting ALL things to do with the BBC. The only exception I'm willing to make is that I will look at a BBC website if someone sends me a news link to look at (etc).

Maybe I'll be able to sleep better tonight now that's off my chest. I'm going to miss Patrick Moore and "The Sky at Night" though. *cries*

Monday, 22 June 2009

Sidebar Links (3)

In the second of two entries explaining why I've put certain links in the sidebar, I'll try and demonstrate that there can be no justification for the "entertainment tax" which UK residents have to pay to the BBC in the form of a TV licence fee.

There are so many ways of demonstrating that the TV licensing system here in the UK is unwarranted and immoral that, to be honest, it's difficult to know where to start. There really is quite an embarrassment of evidence. The argument for licensing generally involves a presumption of excellence in the BBC's programming and hence also presumes that the BBC are therefore providing incredible value for money. Well, okay, lets go along with that (questionable) assumption and then go right ahead and assume that the BBC does represent the pinnacle of broadcasting quality and value. Does that justify enforced licence fees? Of course not. When I go to the supermarket I'm presented with literally hundreds of bargains, each representing value for money to some degree or other. However, at no point am I forced to take advantage of any of them. I have full freedom of choice.

Which leads to another of my fundamental objections to TV licensing. Purely because I have decided that I will not be forced into funding the BBC, I am now prevented, by law, from watching any television broadcasts whatsoever. So then, not only has my freedom of choice been taken away, but now, the very choices themselves have been placed entirely out of my reach. ITV, Channel 4, Five, Sky, cable, satellite ... any and all forms of broadcast television are now by law denied to me. Just because I've decided that I won't be forced into funding one? This obviously can not be justified.

Much, much more could be said in the argument against TV licensing. The heavy handed collection methods employed by the BBC, the victimisation of licence abstainers, the fact that the BBC's "enforcement officers" get paid bonuses for every successful conviction for evasion ... the list goes on and on. But, as I said similarly in my previous post about identity cards, these other points are secondary and to a degree superfluous.

I haven't paid the TV license fee since the winter of 2001. I've therefore been denied access to all forms of broadcast TV during that 8 year period. Since 2001 I've received literally countless demands for payment from the BBC for their product, which I do not consume. These demands have all come with threats of legal action, fines and police involvement. More recently I've also had the pleasure of a BBC "enforcement officer" knocking on my door, no doubt eager to get a possible bonus in his wage packet. I am unwilling to allow this to continue. I have written to the BBC/TV Licensing and I have given them due notice that, under common law, I am legally denying them (and any of their representatives) the implied right of access to my property. That's a legally enforceable version of "get off my lawn!" It's possible that this action has bumped me up the list of households that the BBC will seek to obtain a search warrant for from the courts. Yes, a bloody search warrant! Well so be it.

Right then. I think that's the sidebar links covered. Back to saving the world in my next post.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Sidebar Links (2)

In the first of two entries explaining why I have put certain links in the sidebar, I will set out my position against the government's determined efforts to introduce national ID cards and the database state which it will inevitably create.

The vast majority of people that I have spoken to about the proposed national ID card scheme are profoundly and resolutely against it's introduction. In fact, I don't know a single person who welcomes this measure in any way, shape or form. This would appear to contradict statements made by this Labour government who, in their efforts to force through this piece of legislation, maintain that the majority of people in the UK welcome their introduction. That's odd isn't it? In fact, the only time I see anyone singing the praises of ID cards is on the internet, where the most commonly rolled out justification for such support almost invariably goes along the lines of "if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear."

In a perfect world, with a perfect government operating a perfect IT solution, employing perfect people to administer, access and monitor the scheme, I might agree. However, we evidently do not enjoy such perfect conditions. Quite the opposite. Furthermore, even if we did live in such a perfect utopia, there are no guarantees that such conditions would persist. In ten years time we could all be labouring under a more openly fascist regime (and if you think that's impossible then I respectfully suggest that you are deluded).

So, here in a nutshell is my main objection to ID cards. The scheme could never be implemented in such a way that prevents it from being subject to gross mistakes and even *gasp* corruption and misuse, the effects and fallout of which would lead to disaster and turmoil in the lives of the unfortunate innocent people who fall victim to "the system". I refuse to accept that such people should be considered as "acceptable collateral damage" in this war on personal privacy.

I could leave it there really. As far as I'm concerned all other objections to the scheme are moot and redundant. Not that they are invalid, they simply become superfluous when the question of a just, fair and safe implementation of the scheme itself can not be adequately addressed.

I'll just round this entry up by saying that I've recently joined the newly founded NO2ID action group in Newport. We met for the first time on Monday (with the organiser providing a delicious bowl of lamb cawl) and the group should prove to be active and effective in bringing the concerns about the ID card scheme to the population in our area. We will be organising and utilising a travelling "stall" which will seek to raise public awareness of this issue while at the same time collecting signatures for the NO2ID petition. We plan to run our first "practise" stall in Newport's John Frost Square on Saturday 20th June and I'll let you know how that goes. The group has a great mix of members, skills, experience and enthusiasm including an experienced organiser, an IT professional, members of the public and local councillors from various parties.

Oh ... and also a certain rather outspoken anarchist.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Sidebar Links (1)

Before launching into more posts outlining the evils of capitalism in our modern society and going on to laying out my plans on how to save humanity and the world, I'd like to take a moment to explain my reasons for putting up the two links that currently reside in the sidebar over there. As I will no doubt add more over time, for the historical record the two current links are for NO2ID, an organisation dedicated to preventing the introduction of national identity cards in the UK and BBCresistance, an organisation which opposes the television licensing laws here.

The purists among you will realise that these two organisations aren't really all that radical. Oh, I know they may be perceived as such by the majority of mainstream society but come on, let's face it, these two organisations are hardly going to bring an end to capitalism and usher in a new world of peace and anarchic voluntarism, let alone save humanity and the world ... at least I don't think so. They are, however, both issues that I care about because they intimately affect me and also (more importantly) because I feel that I can take simple and direct action to do something about them. World capitalism hardly falls into that category. As yet I know of no organisation that can effectively achieve my aims listed above. I've tried to find just such an organisation, I really have. In fact I'm still looking ... but so far I've come up with nada. If I ever find one then you people will be among the first to know ... but don't hold your breath.

Also, the "spiritual" among you will notice that both links are concerned with negative issues and that (as yet) there are no "happy happy joy joy" links there to balance things out. I'm fully aware of this and I'd love to be able to put a link to a more positive organisation over there. I've tried to find just such an organisation, I really have. In fact I'm still looking ... but so far I've come up with nada. If I ever find one then you people will be among the first to know ... but don't hold your breath (did anyone else just get a really bad case of deja vu?).

So, having said all that, in my next post I'll just give a short exposition about the "raison d'etre" for each link and then I can get back to my real goal of enlightening the masses, bringing down our corporate masters and subsequently saving humanity, the world and probably the whales and tuna fish while I'm at it (strikes a superhero pose).

Now, where did I leave my cape?