Tuesday, 26 January 2010


I will keep this short and sour.

Three days ago, Home Secretary Alan Johnson warned a terrorist attack was 'highly likely' in the UK, and raised the UK terrorist threat level from 'substantial' to 'severe'. Apparently, we're meant to 'remain vigilant' and 'report suspicious events to the proper authorities'. And if I could just quote a slightly larger passage:
Lord Carlile, the government's independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said the change was designed to make the public more aware, not to scare people. He said: "The government has quite rightly decided that if you don't tell the public to be vigilant, they're not going to be vigilant."

So, my question is, what exactly is it that we're meant to be on the lookout for? What examples of terrorist activity have we been subject to, that could help us (the general public) in identifying 'suspicious events'?

And, in truth, the only examples that we have to hand - the only examples the media has presented us with - is of men in turbans carrying big rucksacks. And I'll be damned if I look at every man in a turban with a big rucksack as a potential threat.

Furthermore, Lord Carlile's argument is practically worthless. If Mr Smith is, unfortunately, going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and be victim to some terror attack, there is nothing he can do about it. Telling us that the threat is 'severe' does nothing but make us more paranoid.

So, if I could please translate: if you don't tell the public to be suspicious, they're not going to be suspicious. And again, I, for one, do not want to walk the streets of London being suspicious of my fellow Londoners.

Perhaps this post isn't as short (but it's definitely as sour) as I first intended it to be...

Finally, just watch this Newswipe edition to see what I mean. Long live Charlie Brooker.

Monday, 4 January 2010

The Big Three

Right-o. So, according to what I have gleamed from Nick Robinson's Newsblog, the general election is on the cards for May. All fine and well, I'm sure we all saw that coming. But did anyone watch the Andrew Marr Show (aired Sun 3rd Jan, 9am)? No, probably not - neither did I, until I streamed it on iPlayer; [oh how I love technology, and especially my new laptop - get used to this, it will be a while before I am over the amazingness of this wonderful, wonderful machine, my apologies in advance.] So, if you're at all interested in British politics, I would recommend even a quick peek at the interview, it starts at 27mins and sees the 'underdog' talking about allsorts from terrorism, immigration, and the upcoming election.

Now. To the heart of it. I'd just like to draw your attention to the three main parties' websites in the run up to this crucial election period. Five months indeed does seem like a long time, but considering the current political climate, there's no time like the present to pick up those floating (mostly Labour?) voters.

Bless the Lib Dems, such is the combined weight of their self-esteem that there's a 'who are we' box on the home page. Come on guys, you're meant to be a mainstream political party! We're meant to know who you are, you want to run our country - put something more forceful on your home page!

The Conservatives, on the other hand, have no less than five various forms of publicising David Cameron to the masses - videos, speeches, photos. They must really want this win.

And finally, the Labour party. The most prominent feature on their page is a ridiculous quiz that forces you (because there is no 'close' button) to sit through ten questions aimed at naming-and-shaming ten Tories who have come out with some funny comments over the year. This Q&A suggests only that Labour have no real fight left in them, and have been reduced to playground-style battles.

Gordon Brown, I really want to like you. But you don't make it easy for me - or yourself for that matter.

Friday, 1 January 2010

New Year!

So, here we are in yet another decade - the fourth that my life so far has spanned. The crucial question is obviously what will this decade be named - the tens? the teens? the twenteens? Only time will tell!

My new year's resolutions -
1. Quit smoking. I am doing this rather begrudgingly, which leads me to think it will be harder this time than last year - in 2009 I didn't smoke from Jan-April. I need to convince myself that I want to quit smoking in order to succeed. Will keep you posted.

2. Quit biting the skin around my nails. I don't actually bite my nails, but the skin around them is getting to look like it needs some TLC. I've already caught myself absent-mindedly eating away at my fingers today, so this resolution will be more about recognising when and why I do it, and reprogramming this behaviour.

3. Generally - do more/learn more/play more/work more. Basically, stop wasting so much time on 'nothing'. Write more.

There are a few other things I aim to achieve this year, but this lot should keep me occupied 'til at least March.