Pivot!

Hello all,

A quick update today. We’re moving to a new server and with that something of a spring clean is in order. Some may have noticed a lengthy pause on the First Ade then Paul podcasts. This is due to my refocusing upon the long-awaited (by me) Tote novel. The podcasts may resume in time, but only once the pages are written.

Politics has long been an obsession of mine, but over the past few years it had become increasingly nasty, bitter and divisive. For my own sanity, I aim to step back from the brink so far as online political activity is concerned. I’ll continue to knock on doors and have good chats with people in real life, but other than the very rare article, I shall be gearing this site more towards fiction. Believe me, this endeavour shall be much the harder on twitter.

In absence of First Ade then Paul, I recommend The Remainiacs Podcast for your political needs, for Brexit will dominate all for the next few years and these people know what they’re talking about.

Ta ta for now!

Ade

First Ade then Paul – Podcast News

It’s been slowly boiling away and now the first serving of our new podcast is available. Each week Paul Hayes and myself will bring you gossip and scaremongering from the world of politics and tech.

First Ade then Paul – Satire for Solipsists

Episode #001 Snitch in the Machine: Our daring heroes boldly discuss the Psychoactive Substances Bill & security flaws in the Internet of Things

Sons of York Free Giveaway

From 26/04 through until the end of the month, Sons of York will be available to download for free through Amazon. Go on, go help yourself to a freebie!

Sons of York

Collection of two short stories:

FROTHBOT (Science-Fiction / Politics)

For eight years the government has remained paralysed, unable to cope with spiralling inflation and disintegrating public services. With society on the brink of collapse, a journalist gets the opportunity to interrogate a politician at the centre of it all. He works for the PaPA Department, the mysterious system locked off from public scrutiny, and is the one person she hopes can reveal the truth.

SONS OF YORK (Historical-Fiction / Horror)

13 June 1483. Richard Duke of Gloucester plots within the Tower of London. Will he seize the crown from his nephew, a boy under lock and key? Or will he crown the child and sacrifice his own claim forever? His closest ally is on the edge of betrayal, his court is filled with deceit, and every choice seems riddled with blood.

Free at Amazon.co.uk

Free at Amazon.com

Yummy Polls

It has been a while since we’ve discussed politics and my secret love: opinion polls. Yes, those dreary meaningless statistics that bear little relation to the real world are the small skirmishes between the battles and one such battle is approaching – Thursday’s local elections. Yesterday’s ComRes poll has the Conservatives on 32%, Labour 38%, UKIP 13% and Liberal Democrats trailing with 9%, but of course that is nationally and the elections that are taking place will not be fought under proportional representation. No indeed, these elections are going to be decided with good ole fashioned utterly bonkers first-past-the-post.

As a believer in electoral reform I should be shaking my head in disgust at how skewed the results on Thursday are likely to be, but there is a certain element of chickens coming home to roost, as it is the Conservatives who are about to taste a mouthful of feathers from the upstart right wing UKIP. The left has spent at least three decades being split and now it is the turn of the right. Even though support for right wing policies are on the rise (euro-scepticism, anti-immigration), having the vote split between two parties will help the liberals and labour parties in areas that they are consolidated enough not to bring down each other, a problem they and their supporters have grown accustomed to through years of bloody battles.

So ironically the Lib Dems best hope is Farage, and right now they should be delivering UKIP’s leaflets as well as their own. The more the Conservatives pull to the right to steal UKIP votes, the more sensible conservatives will flock to centrist Liberal Democrats, and the more to the left the Tories pull to defeat Lib Dems, the more they will lose to UKIP.

The only party that seems excluded from all this fun is Labour, who are still stuck with the same share of the vote they have had for ages with little impetus either way. Ed Miliband has been accused of turning his party into the party of protest (simply saying boo to cuts without giving any solution) but if that was his aim the plan backfired. No one wants to register their protest vote with Labour.

And then there’s the Greens who somehow, in a time of global warming, widespread disaffection with politics and grossly unpopular cuts, have managed to make themselves entirely irrelevant.

The Daddy State

Following the case of Paul Clarke, I have been doing a lot of thought about our justice system. We live in an era when retribution has been taken completely out of the hands of the every day citizen and placed squarely in the remit of the state. This has been a gradual shift that has taken place slowly over hundreds of years as the police’s ability to enforce law has become more and more effective. But is this right? Is it reasonable to give such responsibility to the state? And what effect is it having upon us as a society?

First of all, is there even a problem? Some might argue that there is no problem with our justice system. They would cite that crime is far lower in our generation than any previous one. Blame for the belief that crime is ‘out of control’ would be placed squarely at the feet of the tabloid press, who have an interest in scaremongering as such a tactic sells papers. These arguments may be true, but regulation of the numbers of crimes committed is not the issue; the issue is whether, in our current society, justice is being served. Well, is it?

Those who take part in our legal system strive to free themselves from basic ignorance; that is the immediate and understandable ‘eye for an eye’ philosophy. ‘He murdered someone so should be put to death’ or ‘he raped someone so should have his dick cut off’, that sort of thing. So instead of this old-testament approach, punishment is dispensed dispassionately, with cool-headed calculation. These intellectuals are interested in what is better for society, rather than simply locking people up.

For example, a man bumps into a child on a station. As he bends down to apologise, the father punches the man in the face. The man falls, hits his head and dies. Should that father go to jail for life? The cool-headed intellectual says no. What would be the point? they ask. He did not intend to kill, merely to hurt. And the drawbacks for a long prison sentence are major: boy deprived of father, immense cost to the state and prison tends to make criminals rather than break them. The choice for the intellectual is clear: society would be best served by sending the man to jail for a few years, but certainly not as long as a murderer.

“Intellectual Ignorance”

But these people have merely been trapped by another form of ignorance – ‘intellectual ignorance’. So concerned with the mantel of ‘objective thinking’ and so busy thinking about society as if it were a game to be manipulated, that they have forgotten about justice and the right of the individual. The man who died had friends and relatives who need to feel like justice has been served, regardless of what would make national statistics look better in the long run. Three, five or ten years for killing a man is not enough for those who have lost someone. It may be true that leniency and rehabilitation lead to a healthier society, but to think that takes precedence over a person’s need for justice is falling into an even greater folly – forgetting that inside everyone’s head is a conscious being. We are not machines. We are not bees, all part of the same hive. Inside each and every one of us is a mind to whom their experiences are everything. When you deny a person justice is breaks them. It is a punishment that cannot be bared.

So when these judges fail to punish criminals sufficiently what they are really doing is punishing the victims and fuelling what I call the ‘Daddy state’.

“Daddy State”

It has been claimed that we live in a nanny state, where the government has great control over our lives and snoops into our affairs. I think it is the other way around. We live in a ‘Daddy state’, where we think that the state is the solution to all of our problems. Kids aren’t doing well in school – we go running to the state. People are getting too fat – what can the government do to stop it? A crime is committed- it’s up to society to punish those responsible. We have decided that the state should be a father figure, someone to run to over the slightest problem. The state is our ‘Daddy’, and not a nice one either, but a ‘don’t tell your mother about our little secret’ type, and for this we only have ourselves to blame.

And what’s terrible about this situation is that the ‘Daddy state’ no longer looks out for us, but punishes us by treating justice as a way of tinkering with statistics and end results. Over hundreds of years we have allowed ourselves to lose all responsibility for our own justice and give it over to the state, but now we find the state was never interested in justice in the first place, merely about keeping the peace.

The effect of such corruption (of the human psyche) is that we have become as children, afraid to sort out our own affairs. Right and wrong no longer have any relevance when we always have to wait on Daddy’s word, and if Daddy’s word makes no sense to us as people, something has to change. What will it be? Will we go mad, or will we finally grow up?

Mandatory Sentences

judge hand with gavel by Diane M Byrne

judge hand with gavel by Diane M Byrne

On December 11th an ex-soldier from Merstham will be sentenced. His crime carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years. And what was this terrible crime Paul Clarke, 27, committed? He found a shotgun wrapped in a black plastic bag at the bottom of his garden and took it to the local police station to hand it in.

He had phoned ahead and arranged a meeting with Chief Superintendent Adrian Harper at Reigate police station. At the station Clarke took the the gun out of the bag and placed it on a table facing the wall for safety. He was then arrested for possession of a firearm.

Despite the fact there is no issue from the Surrey Police to inform the public not to touch any found firearms, it has been decided that Clarke is liable for the blunder, and his dutiful transportation of the weapon a criminal offence. This offence carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.

Commenting on the case at Guildford Crown Court Judge Christopher Critchlow said, “This is an unusual case, but in law there is no dispute that Mr Clarke has no defence to this charge… The intention of anybody possessing a firearm is irrelevant.”

So whether you think Paul Clarke is a honourable citizen or a bumbling fool, it doesn’t matter. He’s about to be chewed up by a ridiculous judicial system that seems to come down hard on the innocent, whilst treating criminals leniently. A system that is more preoccupied with sound-bites than doing what’s right.

Mandatory sentences for anything is wrong. It completely negates intent and circumstances. Life is not black and white, there are rarely absolutes. But whilst this is all an academic discussion for us, it is rather closer to Paul Clarke whose life is about to be ruined. One thing is for certain: our judicial system needs to change.

The Queen’s Gone Mad!

Today the Queen described a magical world where parliament is able to pass ten bills in seven months. Totally crazy of course, given that the conservatives and lib dems could defeat any bill that hit the lords, but hey, she’s an old gal, and just because she’s gibbering inanely, doesn’t mean we should be rude and point it out to her, does it?

Of course not! It’s not her fault at all – Gawd Bless her! – it’s those Labour rotters making her read out their pre-election manifesto, a last ditch attempt to sell their thousands of third class tickets for the labour-titanic fourth-term voyage. Election time is only seven months away (at the most!) and so far no-one’s buying.

The proposals include support for the most impoverished elderly, giving more powers to Ofcom and rather hilariously, a law promising to cut the deficit in half. How silly is that? Actually creating a law to guarantee they do the job they should just be doing! It’s the equivalent of Arnold J Rimmer spending all his pre-exam time working on the revision timetable.

This nonsense was noted by Nick “please don’t look at me lest you learn just how dull I actually am” Clegg who called it “fantasy politics” and called for the government to spend the rest of their term reforming our electoral system. Now that really is a fantasy!

David Cameron on the other hand had a confession to make. After claiming that the government had run out of “time, ideas and courage” he went on to say they were “acting like an opposition”. Damn right Davey boy, that’s precisely how our main opposition party have been behaving for years.

The election seems to have kicked off, and it looks like a dull depressing affair with no hope of salvation, just an inevitable slide to conservatism. It’s like an old war-criminal dying of old age, leaving his estate to a spotty slimy bigoted nephew. Or perhaps Macbeth being deposed, only to be replaced by his mad wife. Only swine-flu can save us now.

Ted Haggard, The Second Coming?

Everybody’s favourite hypocrite, Ted Haggard, has relaunched himself onto the public stage. Haggard, who was disgraced back in 2006 by a sex and drugs scandal, held a prayer meeting at his home in Colorado Springs on Thursday Evening.

At his height, Ted Haggard was an immensely powerful evangelist who claimed to have the ear of then-President Bush. However, everything for poor Ted came crashing down when it turned out he’d been seeing and taking drugs with a gay prostitute. Given that this was against everything he’d ever preached, we all found it hilarious (and ironically the closest thing to evidence I’ve ever seen for the existence of a god).

And now he is back! Using the prayer meeting as a possible launch pad for a new church he met with press outside his home.

“For the people who come tonight, that means they believe in the resurrection in me,” he said. “Because I died. I was buried.”

Is this a new beginning for Ted Haggard? I hope so, because with him representing Christians more people will be turned off religion entirely.

To see Haggard (pre-disgrace) check out Richard Dawkins’ documentary, “The Root Of All Evil” in which he interviews Haggard about evolution. If the man does not give you nightmares, you’re a stronger person than I.

Welcome back Ted!!

Alan Johnson Is Pro-Ecstasy!

After meeting with Alan Johnson, three more members of the ACMD (Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs ) have resigned: Dr Campbell, Dr John Marsden, and Ian Ragan. The reason for these further departures is the lack of respect given to the scientific community by the government. They claim that the government ignored their advice to keep Cannabis class C and instead upgraded it for – and this may shock you – political reasons! Yes, that’s right. The government was simply trying to grab a few easy votes!

Ok, maybe that’s not shocking, and in fact it’s obvious, but if you are a respected member of the scientific community, it’s a bit bloody embarrassing to look like you’re a part of such nonsense.

The question that needs to be asked is, why has Alan Johnson mishandled this so badly? The only possible answer I can fathom is that he must secretly be pro-legalisation, and is trying to reveal our society for the hypocritical druggy nation it is. The other option – that our home secretary is in fact a grossly incompetent nitwit (and a coward to boot) – is rather too grim to contemplate.

Sex Education? Vital Information!

365:225 by Lolie SmithA change in government policy means that parents can now only prevent their children from receiving sex education up to the age of fifteen. Previously it was nineteen. Yes, that’s right. Under previous rules a young person could be legally old enough to fornicate, yet their parents could prevent them being told what a condom was.

Despite this welcome change of policy, the current rules are still madness. Sex education is vital education, and a parent has no right to prevent their child receiving it. A child does not chose the family it is born into. It does not decide ‘I would like to be brought up as a conservative catholic’ any more than ‘I would like to be a godless liberal’. It is up to our schools to save the child from the failings of their parents. There should be no opt out for sex education, just as a parent should not be able to opt their child out of being taught evolution.

Denying a child vital information to allow them to operate in a modern society is abuse. It’s that simple. Just because the parent is a sexually repressed moron, doesn’t mean their offspring have to suffer the same fate.