Language, Stevie

According to the New Statesman, when the new UKIP MP, Douglas Carswell, sat in the spot in the Commons normally occupied by Steve Rotheram, the Walton MP said to him “Eff off out of my seat.”

Does Mr Rotheram not know that it is an offence under Sections 4 and 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 to use “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour” within the hearing or sight of someone who could feel harassed of threatened by them?

When a town councillor, one of my constituents was convicted under this provision simply for saying to the police “Don’t come near me, I’m a ninja.” Equally, Internet troll Liam Stacey was convicted under this Act for saying racist remarks on Twitter.

Why does Steve Rotheram appear to think the law offline should be more lenient than online, and members of parliament should get less stern treatment than anyone else?

Why Turkey has it right, partly

Turkey’s position on the escalating situation in Iraq, Syria and their own country is that the terrorist element of the Kurds is as much a problem as ISIL/Alqeada in Iraq often called Islamic State. They also say they have no intention working with President Assad of Syria.

The last one is idiotic – regardless of what one thinks of Assad, he is the head of state of Syria, so he must be worked with, and indeed, worked on – diplomatically.

But I agree the Kurdish insurgents who want to create a Kurdistan independent from Iraq and Turkey is as much a risk to the region as ISIL – they wish to obtain independence outside of the democratic process. They have no mandate from the people, so should not use violence to achieve their aims.

You have 12 apples

Explaining the deficit in the UK government’s budget.

  • You are Gordon.
  • Ken gives you 12 apples but you promise only to use 10.
  • You use 10 for two years but then decide you want to use the other 2 also.
  • Your friend’s business is doing badly so you give him 2 apples and borrow 2 other apples so you still have 12.
  • George steals your job, and says he would rather have 10 apples and get rid of the 2 he is borrowing.
  • George says that in order to keep the 10 apples, he must take 2 from the poor so he no longer needs to borrow 2 himself.
  • Ed says he’d do a better job that George. He says he would get to 10 apples but by taking 2 from the rich instead of the poor.
  • George and Ed argue for a while, but in the meantime they now have 10 apples, because the other 2 are toxic, and no good to anyone.
  • You tell your friends to stay with you in case you need to sell their oil to get 2 new apples.

Clarifying my Asperger syndrome comments

I was interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live today on Internet trolling. In it I mentioned Asperger syndrome and mental health conditions in the same breadth. I thought I might clarify my comments.

I generally see myself as “autistic”. However, “Asperger syndrome” is a medical label – in version 4 of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders – for what should simply be considered an alternative personality type.

An autistic person therefore only has Aspergers when around people who lack understanding or tolerance of being autistic. Otherwise being autistic is normal and thus not a disability. I never have any problems communicating with people who are autistic – if others who can’t communicate with autistic people were as clever as they make out, they would not have issue with autistic people either.

It is my view that most mental health conditions can be put down to the effects of post-traumatic stress. In my view the same traumas that can cause anti-social personality disorder can cause one to be autistic. But autistic traits can be caused by other factors also – such as foetal alcohol/testosterone and thicker cells in the prefrontal cortex from genetic mutations.

I was joking with someone the other day that on mathematics or physics degrees, where participants are likely to be more autistic, maybe it should be the non-autistics (e.g. empathics, demotics) who get the disability support!

They don’t make public figures like they used to

They say self-praise is no recommendation, but I would like to say I come from a family of politically active people who are not afraid of having our beliefs challenged. My father’s mother held strong political beliefs, and faced abuse on the doorsteps of Rhondda for expressing them. Another ancestor on my mother’s side – Ivor Jacob – became chairman of Llantrisant Town Council, which only recently I stood for as a Pluralist Party candidate, standing on my beliefs that elected bodies should represent the views of all and not just some.

Being a journalist and information provider in general I have had my fair share of defamation claims – in my view for things that weren’t defamation. I have a number of gagging orders to my name, including from politicians who didn’t like the news and other coverage they got from me.

So I’d like to think that such politicians weren’t made the way my grandmother and I were made. Take a look at some of these less than favourable news articles about me:

Here are some more favourable articles written about me in Media Wales publications:

When you are in politics, you have to take the rough with the smooth – if you can’t then instead of suing people, as I foolishly did aged 26, you have to become a political animal who can take it all, or get out of politics. There is no point people suing me as a journalist, or indeed a politician, for saying things they don’t want to hear. You have to be able to accept that with the favourable news comes unfavourable news.

The article in the Daily Express demonised me for saying that the cautioning of a troll was enough because it affected his career chances is the norm one should expect. The same goes for the articles in the Burton Mail. They presented me as doing a ‘U-Turn’ because I supported the naming of a troll, even though I still believed his cautioning was at the time too severe. Now the Con Dem Government has made it so cautions are spent offences as soon as they are served.

So being in the public eye is a double edged sword – one you live by and one you die by. If you cannot accept criticisms or people writing about you online without your consent, then public life is not for you – leave it to people like my grandmother and myself who are build to take in all and maintain the courage of our convictions.

Positively discriminating?

The Labour Party in Wales are having further issues balancing sex equality and ensuring local control at the same time.

I was once so clear in my views on all women shortlists – I thought they were necessary, especially in the Labour Party, because there is a general attitude that women are less capable than men. Even if this were true, the reason is that which forms the basis of EU sex equality law, which is that women who are denied opportunity lower down the employment ladder are less likely to get the top jobs that the men who get into public office take for granted. In the Equality Act 2010, Labour put the EU’s priority to improve employment opportunities for women on par with increasing political ones. This law also allows positive discrimination in favour of people with disabilities, but no other group.

The premise I have in terms of thinking about positive discrimination in politics is that any person of merit is unlikely to get selected or elected on those merits, unless they 1) fit the mould of an able bodied man from a professional background who is middle aged, white, straight with a wife and children, or 2) is in a political hegemony where they are the candidate for the party that will get elected no matter what.

If major political parties want their candidates to represent society should they not be working towards selecting candidates on the basis of quotas so their candidates are representative of all groups in society (percentage of disabled people, ethnic minorities, minority sexual orientation, etc.) and not just on the sex of a candidate as with Labour?

The major political parties have the critical mass to place any candidate they want in their hegemonies. However, at present the law only allows them to positively discriminate in favour of women and disabled people, but why are usual suspect women being singled out over diverse background disabled people? Using the law as it stands, the number of disabled men and women selected should be reflective of the number of men and women with disabilities in society.

In terms of non-political environments I think my views on affirmative action have changed from allowing “positive discrimination” to designing out negative discrimination. Organisations – and not just their premises – as well as the legal and other systems that exist in a society are designed in ways to put in barriers to equality for specific groups. I had two women who wanted to be on my company’s board of directors – when we had a board of directors. They had to leave because benefit rules meant they would lose their benefits – including support for one of their new borns – if they did. So in essence, there should be a requirement to make “reasonable adjustments” to allow all people to participate if the reason they can’t fully participate is because of a provision that puts someone with their protected characteristic at a disadvantage. Those women with a family they want to nurture should not be put of being on boards of directors because the environment is more suited to those men who, even if they have a family, put their work first.

So, shouldn’t political parties, who already form cartels on issues like the EU president and Scottish independence, not work together to ensure that in their hegemonies those people who are elected in their totality to an elected body are representative of those in society, while being of merit at the same time – judged solely on their ability to do the job they are elected to? They would not need to be the elites one might find in the House of Lords, who should be appointed on merit only regardless of other factors. But they would certainly not be the mediocre men and women we are used to at present.

So, in essence I do not think all-women shortlists should be used in major parties, but that by changing the way these big parties elect candidates to be  based on allowing their membership to vote for a panel of candidates representative of society, who are then allocated to seats in their hegemonies by members. The local parties could vote for the candidate of their choice from this panel, meaning equality is achieved at the same time as local control being exercised.

Free Schools or Copy Cats? Ark Pioneer Academy 12 years out-of-date

The Daily Mail reports on a suggestion of Ark Pioneer Academy for using the free school model for distance learning schools where teachers are not needed.

They say imitation is the best form of flattery. I devised this concept Ark Pioneer Academy are trying to copy 12 years ago, which is called Classroom 2.0 – the idea that through computers (inc. tablets) classrooms can transcend beyond school walls and allow for collaboration, which I discussed in my book, Didactic Strategies and Technologies for Education: Incorporating Advancements.

The possibility of implementing Classroom 2.0 through Free Schools has already been considered by the UK Government as a result of my research, so Ark Pioneer Academy are late coming to the table. This includes my paper ‘Microeconomics of  Education and the Effect of  Government Intervention: The Role of Classroom 2.0 in Facilitating the UK Government’s Schools Policies‘ as published in Transforming Politics and Policy in the Digital Age.

Maybe Ark Pioneer Academy should change their name to Ark Late Adopter Academy?!

Is Christ overdue a re-coming?

Romans 1 is often used as a means to attack homosexuals. However, I hope to show in this article how it is a prophesy of current events beyond acceptance of same sex relationships. I am not trying to say these are necessarily immoral, just that Romans 1 has been an accurate prophesy. Some of the lawful ones, such as being boastful, are things I do!

Verses 18-20 – God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

This in my view is a prophesy of the coming of Emmanuel, who will come (in Biblical terms) to judge the quick and the dead. Muslims and Christians see Emmanuel as Jesus Christ, but I argue that both Christ and Mohammed were Messiahs and Sons, but as neither united Arab, Jew and Gentile, neither was Emmanuel as neither became King.

Verse 21 – The Condemnation of Atheism

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Atheists know of “God” – they acknowledge the concept. They do not believe he exists, thinking science proves their non-belief, when it can’t provided evidence either way.

Verse 22-23 – Means of exchange not ‘godly’

Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Could this refer to currency, like the £10 note showing Darwin and the birds he studied, as well as the monarch or ruler of the day (who is not God)?

Verse 24 – Non monogamous relationships

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

Could refer to pornography, child sex offences, etc.

Verse 25 – Celebrity Worship Syndrome

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Some treat actors as if they are gods, idolising them, following them to gigs, all in pursuit of an image that doesn’t reflect reality. Populist politicians convince people to follow them, for serving themselves and not “God”.

Verse 26-27A – Legalisation of same sex relationships

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.

Regardless of whether homosexuality is right or wrong, same-sex relationships, including marriages are child rearing are legal now.

Verse 27B – Gang Rapes

Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

The gang raping of children, regardless of sex, and human trafficking and forced prostitution could be what is referred to here.

Verse 28 –

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

The number of persons found in possession of indecent images of children is increasing. People are filled with venom for others, and otherwise find it acceptable to go against those ideals set out in the “10 Commandments.”

Verse 29-30 – Not regard for mankind

They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, [evil, greed]^1 and [depravity]^2. They are full of [envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice]^3. They are [gossips, 30 slanderers]^4, [God-haters]^5, [insolent, arrogant and boastful]^6; they [invent ways of doing evil]^7; they [disobey their parents]^8;

Could refer to:

  1. The credit crunch
  2. Sexoffences, sexualisation of childhood
  3. World War III at present where so many countries are at war; 9/11, 7/7, school shootings, and other forms of going postal; MPs expenses; Internet trolling (i.e. flame trolling).
  4. The News of the World, other tabloids, gossip magazines, police corruption (e.g. plebgate).
  5. Atheists.
  6. Social media, including LinkedIn for boasting and arrogance, and Twitter for insolence.
  7. Computer viruses, using social media to abuse others.
  8. Parents often find that if they have more than one child there is a need to but the child whose birthday it isn’t a present too.

 Verse 31 – The consumer society

they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.

The idea of a life-long marriage of devotion to one person is all but gone. Humans will abuse others without a thought as to their feelings. Humans rarely care about anyone other than Number 1 – them.

Verse 32 – Condoning the above

Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Sex offenders get off the hook, bankers and bank directors don’t get punished for their greed, many believe it is acceptable to lie in order to “not” hurt others’ feelings and many think it is find to break the rules to get back at someone who offended them regardless of the consequences. As such it seems acceptable for someone to be denied a benefit to which they are entitled if they happen to offend the person with power to decide whether they can enjoy that benefit to which they are entitled.

Demos ‘copied’ my research

The Daily Mail reports on a study by researcher Sofia Patel of Sussex University that found that women are as likely as men to post abusive messages.

This study, by researchers including Sofia Patel, adds nothing to the research I have already done at Crocels. In the last two years I have completed studies that looked at blog-posts and found women are more likely to defriend women because of other women! A more recent one looking at social media comments (like this study) found that women who call for more rights for women – as opposed to those women who call for more rights for men – are most likely to be trolled because they are perceived as biased by trolls of both sexes.

2 year trolling law counter-productive

Angie Bray MP has tabled an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill to introduce a maximum jail term for trolling of 2 years. This clause may be counter-productive to those wanting tougher jail terms.

At present under the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and Communications Act 2003 someone can face 6 months prison for each offence. This is unlike the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 where it has to be shown there were a series of trolling attacks – a course of conduct – and the sentence is for all acts not each individual as is possible under these other two laws. Jamie Counsel and Anthony Gristock faced 4 years and 3 years and 8 months in prison respectively, for trolling during the 2011 UK riots, albeit under the Serious Crimes Act 2007.

At it stands Counsel will never have his conviction spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and will have to declare it when applying for work indefinitely. Gristock’s will become spent after 7 years. Had both been charged under this proposed amendment their convictions would have been spent after 4 years.

On this basis it is likely I will support Angie Bray’s amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, and in fact think it should also amend all other laws that can be used to prosecute trolling to introduce the maximum term of 2 years instead of ridiculously long ones. If one thinks that convicted sex offender Max Clifford only got 2 years for his heinous crimes, then are the government seriously saying that sending people to jail for saying something that another person finds offensive is comparable to the life changing consequences of the actions of sex offenders?