Posts Tagged 'Politicians'

Why They Shouldn’t Close Down Social Media During Riots

At 6.30 pm this-evening, there will be a debate about David Cameron’s plan to turn off all social media sites during times of riot.  Yes, this measure may prevent people conspiring and communicating; arranging meeting places, and drumming up hysteria, which is a very important factor, but there are two very big reasons that I personally think social media should stay open for business at all times.

 

1.  EVIDENCE

After the event, there can surely be few more effective ways of catching hold of the perpetrators of crimes than having cold, hard evidence published on the internet.  A tweet saying; ‘Let’s meet at 4.00pm and throw a firework through Topshop’s window’, or a photograph on Facebook of a grinning hoodie, proudly brandishing his new trainers for all to see,  and the inevitable boastful comments that would accompany it, would undoubtedly be invaluable in securing enough evidence for conviction.  During the riots of the last few days, I heard Caitlin Moran describe this very idea as ‘Giving them enough rope to hang themselves’.

We will never compete with their vanity and short-sightedness, and all we need do is sit back and allow them to incriminate themselves.

 

2.  POSITIVE COMMUNICATION

Only those people who relied on Twitter throughout the riots this week will appreciate the inadequacies and shortcomings of the televised news services.  While Sky News and the BBC were playing down events, trying to pretend it wasn’t happening, and then when they eventually had to acknowledge it, showing hours-old footage, repeating the same limited cannon of clips, and creating a very limited perspective for viewers relying solely on television, some of us were on Twitter.  One only had to click on the hashtag #londonriots, and you were immediately inside the action.  People were tweeting from the streets, in the middle of what was going on, people were tweeting about what was going to happen before it did, so that the news spread across the internet, able to forewarn, and preclude.  Photographs were coming from journalists, live onto the Twitter newsfeed, reliable sources were sharing the experience with the world, ordinary people were able to ask for help, express their fear, and sadness, and unite.  It isn’t an exaggeration to say that on Twitter for those few nights the wartime spirit of the 1940’s was very much alive.  Matters were discussed, shared, and wholly illuminated and verified without bias.  There was no agenda to the information, and the sources provided photographs.  On the first night, before I’d even heard anything about it on the news, I lay in bed, glued to my Blackberry, until five in the morning, and I felt so immersed in the action, so much part of the London unity, that my own life and surroundings felt distant, and surreal.

I can never fully express just how important those few nights of shared communication were, to the people who needed help, and to feel part of a community.  To the people who were inside their homes, terrified, but comforted by the entire world, talking to them on Twitter, or those of us who were far away from London, and wanted to feel in-the-loop.  No amount of televised news coverage could have competed with the information shared on Twitter during the riots, and even in organising the clean-up process.  I hope the politicians make this a consideration in their decision.

Yes, people may have used the social media to organise, but an equal number of people were warned about where the violence was spreading, and were able to move away from the area, or pre-empt it.  I think, in this case, more good would be lost, by losing that valuable facility for communication, than harm prevented by stopping the conspirational organising.

 

 

Mp’s: Empty Trough Syndrome

Empty Trough Syndrome

Vikki Littlemore

 

The metaphor most commonly thrust upon greedy MP’s is ‘snouts in the trough’, no doubt because the people of Britain feel that snaffling money for purely selfish and greedy purposes is inevitably porcine.  It transpires that while the working people of Britain are unable to sleep, entangled in sums and figures, trying to determine whether or not this month’s mortgage will go unpaid yet again and whether or not the children will eat this week, the suited classes in charge of us are happily siphoning our money out of the communal pot to spend on extravagant luxuries which many of us are unable to afford for our first home, let alone second.

Our politicians have been draining this country of huge amounts of money like vampires devouring the blood of a rapidly fading victim.  While we are told by our leaders that our own spending and consumer greed (ie.  The extortionate credit cards we are forced to survive on) and our own carelessness has landed us in the middle of a ‘credit crunch’, they themselves are zooming around in fine cars, voraciously hording sparkly trinkets like magpies, and sticking it all on the country’s bill, hundreds of thousands of pounds of it.  Out of our failing national purse has come the money for every extravagance and trivial comfort and indulgence imaginable, while they point their quivering, saturated finger in our direction.  The most notorious examples of expenditure, gaining exposure with the press, have been top of the range sound systems, bags of manure for the garden and the pipes for tennis courts, being just a mere few.  The politicians furnish their second homes not sensibly but luxuriantly, only the best will do.  Why is it necessary to have the most expensive, snazzy cd player, costing hundreds of pounds, for one’s part-time, secondary residence, when most of the country have one for £11.99 from Asda for their only home? 

Of-course, the most infamous and scandalous revelation of all was Jacqui Smith’s claim for her husband’s adult films.  Difficult though it is to believe, one of the people charged with running our country actually demanded that we foot the bill for her husband’s porn.  Of-course, it was never thought that the public would find out about the £20.00 bill, it was always intended to remain a grubby little secret, as are most of these guilty expenditures.  We did however find out, and did anything happen?  Of-course not.

In fairness, opportunism is inherent human nature, part of survival.  As human beings we are compelled to survive, to grasp any opportunity given to us and to clamour for any foothold on the cliff that will keep us out of the ravine.  How many of us, given a blank cheque and the opportunity to spend whatever we wanted, thinking that nobody would find out, would refuse?  Many of us would, granted.  As well as opportunism however, morality is also an inherent human quality and this wasn’t survival, it was excessive indulgence.  In the midst of a national crisis and on the brink of recession, with people losing their jobs, unable to pay their bills, the people at the top of the ladder, in charge of the whole mess, should have had the morality and backbone to ‘just say no’.  As tempting as it would be to have a blank cheque placed in your hand, the prospect would surely only be appetising if the consequences weren’t detrimental to the country and its people.  Apparently not.  Where most of us would undoubtedly be tempted to fill our basket full of diamonds but would think better of it, it appears that politicians weighed up the consequences, gave a shrug, and stuffed their greedy faces full of caviar. 

You can’t dress it up any other way, it was greedy and immoral.  They plundered the country, taking everything for themselves and leaving the hard-working, ordinary classes with an empty purse and empty fridge.  While I’m not suggesting that their behaviour has caused or even been a major contribution  to the credit crunch, the fact that they have been watching us flounder, unable to pay our bills, losing our jobs, while they filled their pockets with gold and trotted off to Harrods, is outrageous and abhorrent.  It’s the principle and their attitude which are repugnant.  They are compared to pigs round a trough because they have behaved like greedy, selfish, gluttonous animals.  There was no compassion or even interest shown by people who watched us sinking lower and lower, while they filled their various homes with expensive items that we could only dream of.  Their attitude is a slap in the face to all those of us who have struggled, gone without food and daily essentials, the bare minimum necessities, while they wallowed in Champaign.  They preached to us on the news, lecturing us on the dire situation and our own greed, standing in suits paid for with our money.  They went home to second residences, furnished not with basic or even comfortable modesty but with top notch furniture and cutting edge entertainment systems, paid for with the money drained from our purses.  Our homes were repossessed because we couldn’t afford to keep one home, while they played musical chairs between their various houses.  Did they care?  No.  If they had, they wouldn’t have done it.

Is it their fault?  Yes.  I accept that the opportunity was handed to them on a plate and it’s hard to refuse something given so appealingly, but their morality should have stopped them.  They were given the opportunity to exploit the people at their mercy, but no-one twisted their arm, they chose to do it.  This wasn’t just immoral, it was criminal.  They watched us starve while they gorged, and now the trough is empty, we have nothing left.  Poor them.


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Sylvia Plath said; "Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences". My aim in life is to find things and people to love, so that I can write about them. Putting words together is the only thing I can see myself doing. This blog is an outlet, and I hope you enjoy reading it. Please feel free to comment on posts, or contact me by the special e-mail I've set up (vikki.littlemore@live.co.uk) with your thoughts.


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The New Remorse, Oscar Wilde.

The sin was mine; I did not understand.
So now is music prisoned in her cave,
Save where some ebbing desultory wave
Frets with its restless whirls this meagre strand.
And in the withered hollow of this land
Hath Summer dug herself so deep a grave,
That hardly can the leaden willow crave
One silver blossom from keen Winter's hand.

But who is this who cometh by the shore?
(Nay, love, look up and wonder!) Who is this
Who cometh in dyed garments from the South?
It is thy new-found Lord, and he shall kiss
The yet unravished roses of thy mouth,
And I shall weep and worship, as before.

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Music I Love (In no particular order, except that The Smiths are first)

The Smiths,
The Libertines,
The Courteeners,
Nina Simone,
Oasis,
Pete Doherty,
Gossip,
The Kills,
Amy Winehouse,
Arctic Monkeys,
Rod Stewart,
The Doors,
The Rolling Stones,
Etta James,
Babyshambles,
T. Rex,
The Jam,
Morrissey,
Guillemots,
The Kinks,
Jack White,
The Deadweather,
David Bowie,
The Winchesters,
The Cure,
Kaiser Chiefs,
The Kooks,
The Twang,
Kings Of Leon,
Pulp,
Blur,
The Housemartins,
The Ramones,
James,
Robots in Disguise,
The Klaxons,
Kate Nash,
The Raconteurs,
Regina Spektor,
Aretha Franklin,
Stereophonics,
The Contours,
Dirty Pretty Things,
The White Stripes,
New York Dolls,
Yeah Yeah Yeahs,
The Clash,
Style Council,
Velvet Underground,
The Horrors,
The Cribs,
Reverend and The Makers,
The Subways,
The Wombats,
Foals,
Elle S'appelle,
The Troggs,
The Beatles,
Echo and the Bunnymen,
Florence and the Machine.

Olive Cotton, Tea Cup Ballet, 1935

Olive Cotton, Tea Cup Ballet, 1935

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Will it ever be alright for Blighty to have a Queen Camilla?

One less tree from our window each day


Vikki's bookshelf: read

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
1984
Twilight
Of Mice and Men
Pride and Prejudice
The Hobbit
The Da Vinci Code
Lolita
Tipping the Velvet
Wuthering Heights
The Picture of Dorian Grey and Other Works by Oscar Wilde
Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Irish Peacock & Scarlet Marquess: The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde
The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman
Moab Is My Washpot
The Bell Jar
The Other Boleyn Girl
On the Road
Brideshead Revisited
Revolutionary Road



Vikki Littlemore's favorite books »

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