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11th September 2013: The world's gone mad and I'm the only one who knows
13th August 2013: Black is white. Fact. End of.
11th August 2013: Electric cars, not as green as they're painted?
18th June 2013: Wrinklies unite, you have nothing to lose but your walking frames!
17th May 2013: Some actual FACTS about climate change (for a change) from actual scientists ...
10th May 2013: An article about that poison gas, carbon dioxide, and other scientific facts (not) ...
10th May 2013: We need to see past the sex and look at the crimes: is justice being served?
8th May 2013: So, who would you trust to treat your haemorrhoids, Theresa May?
8th May 2013: Why should citizens in the 21st Century fear the law so much?
30th April 2013: What the GOS says today, the rest of the world realises tomorrow ...
30th April 2013: You couldn't make it up, could you? Luckily you don't need to ...
29th April 2013: a vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE, because THE ABOVE are crap ...
28th April 2013: what goes around, comes around?
19th April 2013: everyone's a victim these days ...
10th April 2013: Thatcher is dead; long live Thatcher!
8th April 2013: Poor people are such a nuisance. Just give them loads of money and they'll go away ...
26th March 2013: Censorship is alive and well and coming for you ...
25th March 2013: Just do your job properly, is that too much to ask?
25th March 2013: So, what do you think caused your heterosexuality?
20th March 2013: Feminists - puritans, hypocrites or just plain stupid?
18th March 2013: How Nazi Germany paved the way for modern governance?
13th March 2013: Time we all grew up and lived in the real world ...
12th March 2013: Hindenburg crash mystery solved? - don't you believe it!
6th March 2013: Is this the real GOS?
5th March 2013: All that's wrong with taxes
25th February 2013: The self-seeking MP who is trying to bring Britain down ...
24th February 2013: Why can't newspapers just tell the truth?
22nd February 2013: Trial by jury - a radical proposal
13th February 2013: A little verse for two very old people ...
6th February 2013: It's not us after all, it's worms
6th February 2013: Now here's a powerful argument FOR gay marriage ...
4th February 2013: There's no such thing as equality because we're not all the same ...
28th January 2013: Global Warming isn't over - IT'S HIDING!
25th January 2013: Global Warmers: mad, bad and dangerous to know ...
25th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
19th January 2013: We STILL haven't got our heads straight about gays ...
16th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
11th January 2013: What it's like being English ...
7th January 2013: Bleat, bleat, if it saves the life of just one child ...
7th January 2013: How best to put it? 'Up yours, Argentina'?
7th January 2013: Chucking even more of other people's money around ...
6th January 2013: Chucking other people's money around ...
30th December 2012: The BBC is just crap, basically ...
30th December 2012: We mourn the passing of a genuine Grumpy Old Sod ...
30th December 2012: How an official body sets out to ruin Christmas ...
16th December 2012: Why should we pardon Alan Turing when he did nothing wrong?
15th December 2012: When will social workers face up to their REAL responsibility?
15th December 2012: Unfair trading by a firm in Bognor Regis ...
14th December 2012: Now the company that sells your data is pretending to act as watchdog ...
7th December 2012: There's a war between cars and bikes, apparently, and  most of us never noticed!
26th November 2012: The bottom line - social workers are just plain stupid ...
20th November 2012: So, David Eyke was right all along, then?
15th November 2012: MPs don't mind dishing it out, but when it's them in the firing line ...
14th November 2012: The BBC has a policy, it seems, about which truths it wants to tell ...
12th November 2012: Big Brother, coming to a school near you ...
9th November 2012: Yet another celebrity who thinks, like Jimmy Saville, that he can behave just as he likes because he's famous ...
5th November 2012: Whose roads are they, anyway? After all, we paid for them ...
7th May 2012: How politicians could end droughts at a stroke if they chose ...
6th May 2012: The BBC, still determined to keep us in a fog of ignorance ...
2nd May 2012: A sense of proportion lacking?
24th April 2012: Told you so, told you so, told you so ...
15th April 2012: Aah, sweet ickle polar bears in danger, aah ...
15th April 2012: An open letter to Anglian Water ...
30th March 2012: Now they want to cure us if we don't believe their lies ...
28th February 2012: Just how useful is a degree? Not very.
27th February 2012: ... so many ways to die ...
15th February 2012: DO go to Jamaica because you definitely WON'T get murdered with a machete. Ms Fox says so ...
31st January 2012: We don't make anything any more
27th January 2012: There's always a word for it, they say, and if there isn't we'll invent one
26th January 2012: Literary criticism on GOS? How posh!
12th December 2011: Plain speaking by a scientist about the global warming fraud
9th December 2011: Who trusts scientists? Apart from the BBC, of course?
7th December 2011: All in all, not a good week for British justice ...
9th November 2011: Well what d'you know, the law really IS a bit of an ass ...

 

 
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It's not just us grumpy old buggers who detest the "we know what's best for you so we're going to bully you until you do what we say" mentality of our present government and their power-mad acolytes in local government, the elf-'n-safety industry and single-issue pressure groups. People in other countries are starting to realise the dreadful mess we've allowed to develop because as a nation we're terrified of causing offence or laying ourselves open to any criticism whatsoever.
 
Here's an American writing on the Delaware Libertarian website
 
I lived almost five years in the UK, and during that time, I got to watch what happens to a relatively free Western society when the Nanny State crosses the line over into a police state. And make no mistake, New Labour's Britain is undoubtedly a police state these days. When I lived there, I watched as prison and/or draconian fines became a standard punishment for even the most minor of "crimes."
 
Buy the wrong class of ticket for a train? Fine and prison.
 
Use a garden hose during a "water shortage" (caused by leaky pipes in a country where most of the year is rainy and overcast)? Fine and prison.
 
Demonstrate within one mile of Parliament? Fine and prison (this law was passed after ruling party MPs got tired of seeing angry anti-war demonstrators out of their windows on their way to work). Incidentally, this law means that most of Central London, including Trafalgar Square, is now off-limits for political speech and demonstrations. The outrage over that trick was great enough that the government has promised it will repeal the law at some point. Maybe.
 
Cameras popped up everywhere. Britain is the most-watched society on earth, with the government boasting that it can track you on foot, and even track your car's movements at every step of the way ... and keep the information for two years. Own more than one mobile phone? The government is encouraging citizens to report you as a potential terrorist.
 
Are you a dark-complexioned Brazilian traveling on London's underground? Well, police may shoot you eight times in the head for no reason and then lie about you "being suspicious," but the chief of police will be "sorry" about your death - while warning that such shootings could happen again.
 
Mandatory ID cards with biometric imprints have been created and implemented recently, first for new migrants to the country. Eventually, they will be mandatory for everyone. Don't have the card and cannot present it on demand to authorities? Fine and prison.
 
Don't have a TV licence to watch television? We're watching you and we're coming to get you - it's all in the database. The licence, used to pay for the BBC, is mandatory for all TV owners and the British government is spending millions on a campaign to promote its ability to track you down.
 
Don't have the proper car tax disk? You're being tracked, and we'll come to crush your car.
 
But the Labour Party government in London isn't content to stop here. It has a new idea - let's censor the Internet! The kind of ratings used for films could be applied to websites in a bid to better police the Internet and protect children from harmful and offensive material, Britain's minister for culture has said. Internet service providers could also be forced to offer services where the only sites accessible are those deemed suitable for children.
 
And helpfully, the Good Minister Of What We Should And Shouldn't See offers this helpful observation: "This is not a campaign against free speech, far from it; it is simply there is a wider public interest at stake when it involves harm to other people. We have got to get better at defining where the public interest lies and being clear about it."
 
Riiiiiight.
 
"We" meaning government, "public interest" meaning government officials' interests, and "being clear" meaning a whole new hosts of fines, penalties and prison time for noncompliant nasties who dare to publish content Labour judges "not in the public interest."
 
So why am I blogging on this? Because Britain's totalitarian ruling party isn't merely interested in starting this latest revolution in its Brave New World - it wants to export it here to the United States!
 
Andy Burnham told The Daily Telegraph newspaper, published on Saturday, that the government was planning to negotiate with the administration of President-elect Barack Obama to draw up new international rules for English language websites.
 
"The more we seek international solutions to this stuff - the UK and the U.S. working together - the more that an international norm will set an industry norm", the Culture Secretary said in an interview.
 
Unfortunately for the Minister, the pesky First Amendment over here would quickly put the kibosh on such a scheme (although the US government did make an attempt to implement a weaker version of censorship with the Clinton-era Communications Decency Act, which was largely stricken by federal courts). This is one carefully-wrapped package from London that the new administration should return to its sender, post-haste.

 
We mentioned single-issue pressure groups at the top of this page, but some of these aren't just pressure-groups. Some are commercial companies that see the chance of making a fast buck with government backing. And it's not just the present government, either: the opposition are all set to get into the same act
 
Shadow Children's Minister Tim Loughton is chairman of Classwatch, a firm that sells CCTV cameras and microphones to schools so that pupils as young as four can be spied on during the school day.
 
The Big Brother-style surveillance is being marketed as a way to identify pupils disrupting lessons when teachers' backs are turned. Classwatch says its devices can be set up to record everything that goes on in a classroom 24 hours a day and used to compile 'evidence' of wrongdoing.
 
The equipment is sold with Crown Prosecution Service-approved evidence bags to store material to be used in court cases.
 
The microphones and cameras can be used during lessons and when a classroom is unattended, such as during lunch breaks.
 
But data protection watchdog the Information Commissioner has warned the surveillance may be illegal and demanded to know why primary and secondary schools are using this kind of sophisticated equipment to watch children. Officials said they would be contacting schools to seek 'proper justification' for the equipment's use.
 
Classwatch is set to face further scrutiny over the role of Shadow Children's Minister Tim Loughton, the firm's 30,000-a-year chairman.
 
The equipment, which includes ceiling-mounted microphones and cameras and a hard drive recorder housed in a secure cabinet, is operating in around 85 primary and secondary schools and colleges. The systems cost around 3,000 to install in each classroom or can be leased for about 50 per classroom per month.
 
The firm says the devices act as 'impartial witnesses' which can provide evidence in disputes and curb bullying and unruly behaviour and protect teachers against false allegations of abuse - plus provide evidence acceptable in court.
 
Martin Johnson, deputy general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, added: 'We strongly object to schools or colleges having free rein to use CCTV and microphones, especially in sensitive areas such as classrooms, changing rooms and toilets. We expect CCTV be used appropriately and not to spy on staff or pupils.'
 
Last night, Tory frontbencher Mr Loughton insisted there was no conflict between his political role and part-time job. He said: 'I am not the Shadow Minister for Schools, I am the Shadow Minister for Children. I don't speak on school security.'

 
When the Daily Mail reported this story recently, its website received an enormous number of comments from readers.
 
"This is a disgrace, a gross invasion of privacy and designed to get children used to intrusive lifelong surveillance. Whatever any Labour functionary may say, they ALL support this rubbish, naturally 'for the sake of the children'. What next? "Homewatch" to keep an eye on all of us? After all, "if it saves ONE child's life ...". Don't rule this out, together with a vast army of "inspectors", bureaucrats and sundry spooks", said Councillor Jeremy Zeid from Harrow.
 
Sparks from Brighton pointed out "Earlier this year, Tim Loughton criticised the introduction of fingerprinting children in schools saying "it is another step towards a surveillance society." I wonder why he doesn't view filming those children in their schools in the same light?" while A.Howlett remembers that "a supply teacher was sacked after she wore a hidden camera to reveal the disgraceful behaviour of her pupils. But when the government do it it's OK!"
 
However, not everyone is horrified at the idea - it seems to have the support of many teachers, and for a very good reason
 
"My life and career has been destroyed by an allegation of assault in a primary school ... I was witnessed by people who are prepared to lie and by a system that is founded on self-protection and self-preservation. I have been subjected to the worst humiliation imaginable and a 30-year career has been stolen", said Jane of Chorley.
 
David Goadby of Aberdaron said "With the numbers of teachers losing their careers or, maybe, future promotions, after being wrongly accused by children then this is a good idea. Used correctly, as an evidence tool, it could help decide what the real truth is about classroom accusations. No other parties such as social workers or psychologists should be given access to this material else we will be asking for trouble", and Gill from Sussex was equally in favour: "As a teacher I do not have a problem with CCTV in my classroom. I think it could be useful if a child accuses you of something you have not done (hit them, touched them, sworn etc) and to demonstrate to parents that their little angel is not always a little angel. My word as a teacher has been so undermined by successive Governments, that I welcome this proof".
 
Given that there are vociferous and influential people who are happy to make extraordinary accusations against teachers - one recently claimed that all male teachers in primary schools are involved in child abuse (don't worry, there's a major Grumpy Page in preparation!) - these last comments seem entirely justified.
 
But that doesn't mean that a prominent politician should be making money out of it.
 
Bastard.
 

 
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