Police

Watching news items today in the wake of terrorist attacks and the appalling Grenfell tower fire, it’s apparent that the police are under an enormous pressure to investigate horrendous crimes and multiple deaths.

It was commented, by some in the force, that the stress that the police are under has caused serious mental health problems and consequences of this can only be imagined. Some chap decided to go on a news channel and say, in a nutshell, that the ‘people should manage their time better’ and there is ‘room for improvement’. Personally, I feel like punching someone in the face, when they come out with crap like that.

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I know what it’s like to spend hours and hours working for little or no recognition, only to have managers criticise your every mistake or take you up on something you inadvertently forgot to do. People aren’t treated like human beings anymore, they are commodities that are easily replaced. This has to stop.

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The culture in work isn’t about team work; although companies will insist it is. It’s about ringing out as much as you can get from a person. I saw it in education numerous times, where people had breakdowns or strokes due to overwork and stress. No matter how long you have worked, or how much to have done to build a career, putting your health on the line isn’t worth it.

The Government has to act now to reverse the cuts to police forces. Stop putting out sound bites that say that ‘crime is falling’ and other faux-justifications for cuts. General crimes like robbery and burglary may have fallen, but other crimes have risen, such as knife and cyber crime.

The abuse that the police get is unjustifiable. Criticising the police with one hand and then the next week demanding they solve a crime that you might have been affected by is not acceptable. It’s hypocritical and childish.

 

Tommy Robinson – Finsbury attack

Tolerant, caring and loving. Wouldn’t you want to live in a society that promotes these values?

The reaction on social media to Tommy Robinson (Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) was some of the blame and support. What is apparent is that he doesn’t promote harmony and togetherness, he promotes hatred.

“How am I a racist?” I have heard him ask time and time again. If you blame ALL Muslims for extremist actions, you are discriminating. I wouldn’t blame all white people for the attack that happened near Finsbury Mosque. I would say that their beliefs, whether they are born out of a warped distorted of a religion, is the same as an ideology that promotes segregation and hate.

I utterly condemn violence against innocent victims in Manchester and Westminster bridge. I utterly condemn violence carried out again the Muslim community in Finsbury Park. I want to live in a tolerant, caring society. Those who hold extremist views don’t.

Robinson’s views are abhorrent. They do nothing to stop the views of Islamists carrying around appalling acts. In all the years he has been campaigning, what has he actually done to constructively tackle these extremists? Shouting and ranting in places after something has happened is ignored by 99% of the country. People know he is misguided, ill-informed and does these for his own agenda and not for the common good.

I will stand with the Muslim community. I stand with these people. People who have been persecuted and blamed for far too long.

Church and the Second World War

I have been reading again in the past few days peoples comments about how people responded to the terrorist attack in Manchester. It was again a stark reminder of the way that some people use this atrocious incident for their own political gain.

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“We didn’t light candles and put on pop concerts” is the summing up of some. But we DID back then. It was carried out with the same dignity and decency, as we have seen in our towns and cities, in the churches and cathedrals around the country. The difference is now is we have brought grief to the streets. Primarily because this is not a nation (whether we like it or not) that does not adhere to Christianity as it once did.

Church attendance in the UK at the moment stands around 750k each week. A huge decline since the Second World War. This decline isn’t unique to the Church of England but to all established Christian denominations.

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The above graph is taken from The Church Society’s website. Further information is available on it.

A decline in church attendance doesn’t mean though that some people aren’t spiritual. When harrowing life events take place, a majority will still hold onto the belief in an afterlife. Some won’t necessarily equate it to Christianity or any other religious belief but a spiritual understanding of the world. Lighting candles and laying flowers is part of this.

When mum died I sat and talked to her in the care home. I sat for at least an hour telling her how much I thought of her and loved her. I told her that despite ‘her leaving’ that she would forever be in my heart. This is for me a non-religious way of coping with her death. A way of me acknowledging her passing.

People naturally will want a way of coping with such a shock. It isn’t wrong for some to lay flowers or light candles for people that they have never known or met. It is a way of showing solidarity and love for a nation in mourning.

Decent world

I don’t understand it. I cannot understand it. No matter how many times I have mentioned on Twitter that I want to live in a decent society where far-right extremists are not compatible with a civilised society. Then I am inundated with people with bile and hatred. People trying to justify right-wing policies.

These aren’t people who are in politics as a chosen career but they are repeating the beliefs and words of things that have been said to them by the groups such and EDL, Britain First and the BNP.

I believe in free-thinking and the ability to challenge anything someone says or does. What is their motive? I said in a previous post, take way the establishments and organisations that these people are linked to and what are they like as a person?

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These people are brain-washed. They have had lie after lie drummed into them for such a long time and they do not realise the harm that they are doing. It has now been stated that the accused has links to far-right organisations. They have had people commenting that the person who is accused of the murder is not the person they have seen in TV reports the claim he wouldn’t do that sort of thing. But really how well do we know those people we call friends?

I want to live in a decent world. That means everyone is equal. It shouldn’t mean that a certain group or religion should have first say on things. It doesn’t mean that we chose to feed and house just one race and forget the rest. We treat each other with respect and decency.

So I have decided I won’t comment and argue against these people as it’s futile it’s only when something terrible happens to them as a result of their hate and prejudice does it hit home. I am finding it is causing me to question my own sanity when I keep thinking what have we become as a nation when just being a normal human being in a good country is a struggle.

I really hope one day that they will see how hate and division cause so much pain to so many people.

Blame

There is always someone who will want to proportion blame other than the person who pulled the trigger on the guns. So far I have heard that the police at the nightclub were to blame, the lack of guns in the club and even the gay people who murdered should share the responsibility for their own deaths.

The appalling politicians and right-wing groups that latch on to what has happened and use if for their own gain. They proportion the blame to an entire religion which is wrong. Within most belief systems that there are the radical parts that will use this as an excuse to create mayhem and murder innocent victims. Many political parties have murdered in the name of their cause and under-pinned it with the belief that what they are doing is from god. It’s not. True religion does not kill.

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The key to getting to grips with this sort of violence has to be education and understanding. The Islamic faith does and has to condemn these sorts of atrocities that are undertaken in its name. The Muslim Advocates which speaks on behalf of Muslims in American has rightly condemned the killings of innocent LGBT victims. Something that does not get reported in the wider press and beyond.

There has to be a working together of ordinary people who will speak for all sides to condemn this violence. ISIS and its ideology are evil and that message should be broadcast throughout the world. Allowing the lunatics of the far-right and the homophobic part of the Christian church to use it for their gain should be stopped right at the beginning.

Feminist views 

I have a problem with some feminist views. I have been struggling with them for some time and wondering why I have a problem with moral issues associated with feminist belief.

The term “Rape culture” was first used in the USA in the 1970s by feminists who believed a society which normalised rape as a part of the society and sees it as pervasive due to certain values it held about women’s sexual identity and gender.

So what feminists are saying that somehow society doesn’t see it as being a bad thing or even a punishable crime in a society. They believe that making excuses of what a woman was wearing beforehand is part of this “rape culture”. It is prevalent and symptomatic throughout attitudes in the society and endemic to it.

I had some discussion with a female friend and thinking about high profile cases where men had been convicted of rape or had been acquitted. I found it interesting that some on social media platforms held the view that the man was guilty even if he had not be convicted in a court of law. That the woman must be believed and the circumstances of the case were that the jury must have been made to believe that the woman was making the whole thing up something again feminists believe is part of ‘rape culture’ that society sees women as unreliable liars.

Feminists believe in ‘rape society’ is that society is teaching women not to get raped rather than teaching men not to rape. This to me is where I find the stumbling block. Not that any sort of attack on a woman is abhorrent but that despite the calls of feminists to teach people not to rape there are ways that women should protect themselves but again I reiterate that feminist would say is part of rape culture and I am contributing to it by making sure a woman is keeping herself from harm.

I had to look further into this and see how ‘rape culture’ is viewed under various classifications of morality. The feminist view is an example of moral absolutism. The idea there shouldn’t be any way in which someone who has said that they have even raped could have contributed to it. Rape is if someone hasn’t given their consent. To me there are cases where the victim isn’t able to give consent such as age but what do we decide if a woman is so drunk she has sex but afterward saying that she wouldn’t have consented at the time.

Feminists argue that there shouldn’t be grey areas and that it is clear that all sex that hasn’t been consensual is rape. Is it really this clear-cut? We don’t hear of ‘murder culture’ or ‘robbery culture’ we look at the evidence to see if a crime has been committed and that is how the law and the courts deal with each case individually. As much as feminism would like to see perpetrators of rape be punished as they should it isn’t as clear as that. Sex is still sex and if you consent to it then it isn’t a crime. But how do you prove a crime has taken place when the evidence before a jury is that it is the word against another. There are no physical signs of trauma or force but the woman states she did not give consent.

A murder takes place and usually in most cases there is a body. Some cases have been prosecuted when there has been nobody found but this is rare. We have physical evidence in front of a jury if an autopsy has taken place and cause of death can be established. It is up to the prosecution to build the case for murder or if the death was unintentional manslaughter or culpable homicide as it is known in the USA.

A crime has a victim, a perpetrator, and evidence. Some will go to lengths to cover their crime and destroy evidence. A report of the crime of non-consensual sex or rape needs to have more evidence than saying I did not consent. If life wasn’t as clear-cut as this and crimes didn’t have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt then things would be different. That isn’t how things work in the UK. There are some societies where rape has been normalised in countries that are in the middle of civil war and rape has been used as a weapon and as a form of terrorist barbarism.

We know are those men who go out on a weekend with the intention of having sex with women. It happens. Men do that and so do women. On the gay scene, it’s no different. Men and women do go out on the pretence of a hookup.

I don’t believe a woman or a man should ever have to modify their clothes to justify not being attacked but both sexes do dress to feel and look good. We have all go out in the best clothes but it’s never so we feel good we do it so we get others to notice this is what makeup is for.

If you were on a desert island you don’t get dressed up just for yourself intention is their attraction is a part of life and the natural process of humans and animals. There are ways in which everyone should protect themselves that’s why doors have locks and cars have immobilisers. We don’t live in a society of absolute morals.

RE and Humanism

As I qualified secondary RE teacher I find it appalling that the government have taken out the teaching of those with no belief in Religious Education. It’s almost like people without any faith shouldn’t have an opinion about moral values and life choices. I see it as a backwards step in highlighting the importance of the vital role that Religious Education has in our schools in a modern world.

The terrible atrocities that happen each day in our world cause us to pause and ask the question why? It is no longer the case that our children and adults should be left with the answer that some people do bad things. This is a poor excuse for educating people about religious belief.

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I was watching a programme the other night where they were discussing the issue of child exploitation that happens on a regular basis in the UK and thought myself that certain established religions have a lot to blame when it comes to talking about and educating young people about the dangers of online grooming and sexual relationships for someone who us under the legal limit of consent.

The programme highlighted the numerous times that girls were coerced into performed sex acts on their boyfriends and the blatant manipulation coupled with emotional blackmail that they felt under these circumstances. It is no longer a choice to bury your head in the sand and say that my child wouldn’t do these things and they know better.

Education is fundamental. Talking about violence does not make someone violent. In the same way, educating people about the dangers of sex doesn’t allow young people to think they are entitled to go out and experiment on the basis of the facts they have been told.

Think back to the days of your RE and would you really want the next generation to look at the world without the rich knowledge that RE does bring? Or do you want it to be begrudgingly tagged on the lesson at the end of the week on Friday afternoon?

Ostara

I had the misfortune of reading an article in The Sun ‘newspaper’ the other day that claimed that Easter eggs had been banned. They hadn’t. It was just another atrocious attempt by the right wing gutter press to get a reaction from the idiots that actually believe what is written in this so-called newspaper.

Christians have been bouncing up and down like demented Easter bunny’s today. At every moment I have looked on social media they are ready to implore that a preacher that lived two thousand years ago defied all laws of biology and science and came back to life after being brutality killed in an act of crucifixion. A version of a  Frankenstein’s monster is somehow seen as a way of getting rid of the worlds problems by delivering us from own thoughts and actions.

In my ‘christian’ days I would have been proclaiming this. I would have stood proudly in the middle of my town acting out some play or singing some songs thinking that I would be able to change the world and imploring others to join me. It was all a futile process.

I believe that looking at the changes of the world around us we should be thankful that plants are begging to waken from their winter sleep and animals will produce young at a time when in the northern hemisphere marks Vernal Equinox.

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Ostara or Eostra is an Anglo-Saxon goddess who represents dawn. It is a new awakening. She oversees the fertility of the earth and watches over births. The egg is the perfect symbol of fertility and Christians and non-so believers will incorporate this into Easter celebrations without really realising it’s pagan origins.

I love the beginning of spring as you can see blossom on the trees and daffodils rising up from the cold ground to give us hope of the forthcoming of time when new life appears all around us.

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Freedom

In this country we can say what we like about the government. According to some the government monitors emails and certain political parties. This is is true to a certain extent but they are not stifled as they are in other countries. I can complain about the way in which the country is run and those who are in power and this is a basis for democracy.

There are certain loonies and idiots who will say that Britain is a police state. It isn’t. Look on youtube at those cases where people say they have evidence of a police state. Normally it’s a case where someone has done something wrong they have a problem with authority and the police. They then somehow become criminal experts quoting verbatim laws that have been looked up on the internet or passed on through dodgy sites that complain of police brutality.

I have seen cases where the public have constantly harangued police officers usually on there own quoting the law and trying to get a physical response from the officers involved. If you click on the last sentence it is an example of this where the police are asking someone who is sleeping outside the houses of parliament to move. He edits out the bit where he refuses to give the police officer his name..

That isn’t an example of a police state it’s showing you to be an argumentative prick.

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I know there are genuine cases where officers have acted inappropriately and in a criminal manner but the vast majority of people work for the good of the country and want to see law and order across the land. This doesn’t equate to a police state. I would invite the complainers to move to somewhere like Burma, North Korea or Libya. Let’s see how far they get when they complain about how their country is run.

Terrorists want to impose their ridiculous view of life. It is a warped version of Islam. It isn’t what the majority of over one billion Muslims adhere to. The views of right wing parties does no good to harmonise people. It divides and that’s what the terrorist want. I believe in democracy and freedom of speech as I see that this is a priviledge and also our right as human being to condemn violence.

I stand with the people of Brussels and the people of Paris in solidarity. The terrorists will never win. Using their violence to promote their cause this way won’t bring a country or countries to it’s knees. My thoughts are those families to have been caught in these bombings. Not with the people who brought untold misery to thousands.

PR

Sunderland football club has messed up. It is was disgraceful that they lifted Adam Johnson’s suspension and allowed him to play for the first team in the months leading up to the trial. He should have been removed while the legal proceedings were taking place and if found not guilty (like some have been found) been reinstated to his position within the club.

According to reports at the time, he was brought to answer questions to the management and admitted to them he acted in a manner which was totally inappropriate. At this point the should have taken action. They didn’t and now they are dealing with consequences.

I don’t know much about how the game of football works but I know about how public relations work. I am not an avid follower of any team and have no so-called loyalties. I know that Newcastle United as well isn’t too good. They are dragging their heels in keeping someone in a post who is clearly not getting the job right. I am sure that there are others out there might use stronger words in their description of how the club is run.

I know that some celebrities do rely on stories in the press to keep their persona in the media spotlight. I know that they will make up stories and work together to get their names into print. It’s a common practice and articles will appear every day in tabloids where somehow a celeb will be out shopping. If the photo hasn’t been taken surreptitiously and the makeup is perfect etc you know it is a fake story.

If you are promoting a business or a cause you need to have people on your side and quickly responding to questions or information relating to your chosen field. Sitting on your hands and not using social media in the way it was designed will only have a negative impact on your work. I have spent 13 years building up a decent eBay profile. Getting the answers dealt with and responding quickly and clearly to potential buyers is crucial. If you have a smartphone you have no excuse for not replying to questions within 24/48 hours of them being posted.

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This is how I have built up followers on my twitter account. If someone makes a joke or a comment that is longer than three words I will always reply to someone. It reinforces that you have read their comment and taken what they have said on board. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with what they said just acknowledged the comment in the first place. The worst thing you can do is fail to answer a question.

I think PR should be sharper than a pin in the way in which it is run. You aren’t going to please everyone all the time but you should at least aim to please some of those who you come into contact with. You risk alienating supporters and those who financially contribute to you.

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Still grumpy

Gari Wellingham

UK-based musical theatre geek previously living with a brain tumour!