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Posts Tagged ‘protests’

  1. Loads of stuff, crammed into one blog post

    October 13, 2010 by superlative

    I have so many things I could blog about at the moment that I haven’t actually blogged about any of them. Which is a shame, because usually anything I have to say is both interesting and hilarious, and you are therefore being unfairly deprived.

    So I will have to do a very quick run down of the great shifting sands that are my life right now, and I apologise in advance for the brevity.

    Dirty thirty
    Chris turned 30 last weekend. Although he’d already had his main party for it (the pirate party a couple of weeks ago), I tried still to make his birthday a bit special for him, and I think he had a nice weekend overall. It was gloriously sunny, which was pleasant for October, and so we were able to indulge his penchant for lounging around semi-clad on the beach one last time before the winter hits. He was also able to take some nice pictures with the SLR camera he got for his birthday, even though neither of us knows how to use it properly yet. The ones of the fit man playing beach volleyball came out particularly well.

    I did some balloons for him at home (he likes balloons), and we had a few people over for champagne on Saturday night before going out for a bit of dancing at the Brighton Ballroom. Not as many people came to the champagne drinking as I would have liked, but I suppose that’s because practically everyone came to the pirate party and you can’t keep on demanding people celebrate your birthday.

    So yes, he’s 30 now and seemed to cope with it rather well. I have six months to get used to the idea before I hit the big three-o myself. Six months I’m going to cling onto defiantly. ‘Late twenties’ sounds so much better than 30 or ‘early thirties’ and so I’m reluctant to give it up. Maybe I’ll just start saying ‘very very late twenties’ once I pass the milestone.

    Open University
    My course has been going fairly well so far, although it is quite time-consuming. I’ve had my first two assignments back just a week ago; they’re only practice assignments, but they’re meant to give you an idea of whether you’re ready for the course and to give you practice at the assignment format. For the first one, a computer-marked multiple choice one, I got 100%, and for the tutor-marked written one I got 99%, so woo hoo! I guess that means I should be able to manage the course OK.  I’ve really missed the validation you feel when you get a piece of academic work back with ticks all over it and a nice comment at the end. I just hope I do so well when the assignments start actually counting towards my final mark.

    Flat hunting
    We have started flat hunting again, as we suddenly found that with a 15% deposit there are mortgages we can actually afford. And in a shocking display of speed, we saw five properties last Friday, saw the best one again on Monday, and today I’ve put in our first ever offer on a flat with the estate agent. I’m waiting to hear back at the moment.

    I have found the whole process VERY stressful and unsettling, purely because I don’t handle change very well and I’m terrified of committing to the wrong thing. I was alright up until the point where we started thinking about making an offer, and then I had a complete freakout and probably pissed Chris off a bit with my general flappiness. I’ve settled down a bit since then, and I was quite a bit happier once we had a mortgage agreement in principle sort out, as that gave me more confidence as a buyer.

    We’ve gone in a bit under the asking price for the flat we like, and the estate agent indicated afterwards that it will probably be turned down, as the seller has received an offer for that price before. We are in a strong position to buy and move quickly though, so you never know. And the fact he’s been offered that price before made me think actually it may not have been that cheeky an offer; people obviously think it’s worth about that much.

    So anyway, I’ll wait to hear back I guess, and then we’ll see if we want to increase our offer or look elsewhere if the man says no. It’s very exciting, but very scary, and I have to not think about it too hard or I start feeling sick.

    Other bits and bobs
    The X Factor has started its live shows at last (bam bam bam, bam bam b’naa naa), and has picked a right motley crew for the final 16. Well, final 14, because two of them have gone already. I hate loads of them, I’m indifferent about the majority of them, and I only like about two or three acts. Still, it was nice to scream at the screen again for a while on Saturday night, and Twitter always comes alive during X Factor and that adds to the fun. My current favourite is probably Treyc despite the fact she cannot spell Tracy correctly, but I also quite like the fitty twink boyband (because they are fitty twinks), and Rebecca is alright, and even the made-up girl band seemed OK to me. Who knows who we’ll end up with by the series finale. It isn’t the strongest year, but I shall watch for a giggle nonetheless.

    Oh yes, and Smash EDO is conducting one of its idiotic protests in Brighton again today. I’ve written previously about how ridiculous and pointless their protests are, so I’m not sure I can be bothered to get into it again. All I will say is that they’ve dubbed their protest ‘Hammertime’ (hmm, peaceful protest, or MC Hammer tribute?), one person was arrested for carrying a blade in about the first hour, they’ve covered their faces again (always a sign of good intentions), and they’ve probably cost the police hundreds of thousands of pounds.

    I’m sure the protest will be entirely successful at achieving the permanent closure of the EDO factory. I’m going to hold my breath. Ready? Holding it. Still not closed? Still even now not closed? Not even remotely bothered by the protesters you say? And nor is Israel? Or the Palestinians? Oh right. Well fuck that then, I was turning purple anyway.

    Smash EDO supporters often like to leave abusive comments on my blog if I dare to question the motive, method or efficacy of their ‘protest’. I wonder if I’ll get any today? Let’s see shall we….

  2. Selfish children take to the streets and get in my fucking way AGAIN

    January 19, 2010 by superlative

    For those of you who read this blog from time to time, you may remember my angry ramblings regarding the puerile and ill-directed protest that Brighton endured last May courtesy of the Smash EDO organisation.

    Well they were kind enough to do it again yesterday, and once more they got in my fucking way and generally annoyed me.
    The protest was directed as before at the EDO weapons factory in Moulsecoomb, and to the protesters’ credit this time they actually managed to find it. Someone must have bought them a map or something, as last time it seemed they couldn’t be bothered to walk the three miles up the road from central Brighton to where the factory is actually located.
    This time they managed to protest near and around the factory, but unfortunately they got bored after a while and decided to fuck off the rest of the city by coming into the centre. Despite taking a different route home, I still had to take several diversions in order to avoid the places where the police were trying to hold them back. I was also unlucky enough to catch sight of a few of them, wearing black, faces covered and hoods up, looking not at all like the group of peaceful protesters they claim to be. Fortunately it seems that there wasn’t as much wanton destruction as last time, but their presence was still rather intimidating for the city’s residents, and as always seemed rather pointless.
    Why did they need to come into town? No one in town CARED about their protest, all they did was fuck us off AGAIN. It stops even being about the protest after a while, and they instead just seem to enjoy trying to outwit the police and get to places the police don’t want them to get to. It’s childish and pathetic, and it costs the taxpayers a ridiculous amount of money in policing.
    I was also annoyed to learn that EDO denies that it supplies weapons to Israel anyway. According to a tribunal ruling last November, there is nothing in their export licences that proves they do so, and so the tribunal turned down Smash EDO’s request to publish them (they’re normally confidential, apparently). Of course, Smash EDO retorted “that doesn’t prove that they don’t, it just says there isn’t evidence they do”.
    Well I’m sorry but I object to that on two counts. Firstly, we live in a country where our legal system is predicated on a party being innocent until proven guilty. Secondly, as a person with a scientific mind, I base my opinions on the evidence that is presented to me, not on the say so of a bunch of idiots in face masks. If I see evidence that EDO sells weapons components to Israel, or if EDO confirms that it does, then fine I’ll believe it, but not until then.
    Furthermore, even if they do sell components directly or indirectly to Israel, I don’t actually give a fuck anyway. People talk about the murder of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli army in illegal military action – but as I said before, if that’s your beef then go and protest outside the Israeli embassy. Stopping a small piece of equipment being made in Brighton is not going to matter one jot to what happens in Palestine, and it is insulting to the Palestinian cause if that’s where you decide to focus your efforts. If you care that much, go to Gaza and help the injured. Stand in front of an Israeli tank. Lobby the British government and the UN to condemn their military action and impose sanctions. No? Too much effort? Prefer to piss off the people of Brighton instead? Well fuck you then.
    While we’re on the subject, I may as well make my position on Israel/Palestine clear. I am not pro-Israel, as some people might infer from the above. My position is that both sides are as bad as each other, and so I just don’t care what they do to each other any more. I do not take this view lightly, or without having taken them time inform myself on the subject beforehand, I might add.
    The problem I have with their conflict is that neither side is prepared to compromise. They are much happier to carry on killing each other, so why should I care about it? The broad strokes of a peace deal between Israel and Palestine have been known for years: a two-state solution; shared custody of Jerusalem; Israel to stop expanding into Palestinian territory, and to give back large portions of the land they annexed in the 60s; limited right of return for Palestinian refugees to land within Israel; recognition of Israel’s right to exist. There have been times when they have been close(ish) to peace in the past, but every time one side or the other or both fucks it up, because ultimately they don’t want peace. They aren’t prepared to share. It’s ridiculously childish considering what’s at stake. And yes the land is ‘holy’ in various ways to them, but you can still fucking share it.
    Yes Israel kills far more Palestinians than Palestinians kill Israelis because they have bigger guns, but the Palestinians aren’t innocent either. If they were, they wouldn’t elect Hamas who want to see Israel wiped from the map to represent them. They wouldn’t tolerate militants firing rockets at Israeli houses. Being the weaker person in a fight doesn’t necessarily exonerate you of all blame.
    And yes, I fully acknowledge that perhaps it would have been better if the world’s superpowers hadn’t plonked Israel there in the first place, but it’s there now. You have to deal with the situation as it stands.
    So I agree that it is all a big fucking mess, but it needn’t be if both sides wanted to compromise. They won’t, so fuck them.
    Anyway, I have digressed a little from my original topic. The protest was annoying, achieved nothing, and cost me money. I don’t agree with their cause, but that’s not the major problem I have with Smash EDO – it’s their methods I object to. Their protests end up directed more at the police than anything else, they disrupt the lives of people who really don’t care, they directly or indirectly cause violence and intimidation, and they generally piss me off.

  3. More silly protests

    September 28, 2009 by superlative

    There was another anti-government protest in Brighton at the weekend, apparently attended by Sloth from The Goonies (see picture – courtesy of the Argus).

    As if the Labour Party Conference weren’t disruptive enough for the citizens of Brighton, we also have to put up with vague and pointless protests cluttering up our streets.
    Fortunately, this one seemed rather smaller than the Smash EDO idiocy, and by the time I ventured down to the seafront to take a look it appeared to consist of a man standing on a plinth and some bored-looking policemen. I was pleased to see that there were also stacks and stacks of unused placards on Madeira Drive, where they’d clearly not had as many people turn up as they’d been hoping for.
    As with the previous protest, it was the diffuse and varied aims of this one that really made it pointless for me. Some people seemed upset about bankers’ bonuses; some didn’t want cuts in public services; some thought Vestas should be nationalised (er, bit late); some were anti-war; and some were just generally anti-anything because they think protesting is cool. The problem with that, I feel though, is that the protest doesn’t end up achieving anything, because no one is really sure why they’re there.
    This one was particularly pointless because I’m sure it caused no disruption at all to the Labour Party delegates, who were safely tucked up inside the windowless Brighton Centre and probably couldn’t hear or see any of what was going on.
    I also don’t really get some of the arguments that the protesters make. Some of their placards said “Fight for the right to work”, which I found odd. There isn’t an unlimited supply of jobs out there, and I don’t think the Human Rights Convention says we all have a right to a job which the government must provide and pay for.
    The ‘no cuts in public services’ ones also seemed misguided. There is a huge deficit in the public finances which has to be repaired. Regardless of how it got there (I’ll come to that in a minute), it has to be remedied. The country doesn’t have secret stacks of cash it’s keeping squirrelled away – the only way to cut the deficit is to make cuts in spending, or raise taxes. They seem to think that just ‘taxing the rich’ more is going to sort it out, but it’s not realistic. Why do they think that all the major parties have acknowledged the need for cuts? Even Labour says so now, after trying to dodge the word cuts for ages. Efficiency savings won’t be enough, there need to be actual cuts, and we will all feel the effects. But the alternative is a much longer and more painful recession or depression – you can’t just ignore the problem and expect the economy to sort itself out.
    There was quite a bit of talk about bankers’ bonuses too, and apportioning of blame on the banking sector for our financial woes. While I agree it was the bursting of the credit bubble and overly-risky investing by the banks that dragged the economy down, outlawing bankers bonuses is a purely populist measure that won’t actually fix the state we’re in. Yes the banks behaved badly – but the problem was that they were allowed to do so. We should be talking now about much tighter financial regulation and imposed margins on the banks’ balance sheets, to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Complaining about bonuses doesn’t address the real issue at all.
    And yes it’s annoying that some of the people who caused this are still getting big bonuses. Fine. The banks shouldn’t be giving those people financial rewards, if they’ve even still got their jobs. But the issue isn’t an across-the-board one for all banks, and the backlash against the financial world will only discourage the bright and talented people we need to repair the damage from joining the sector. The same as with the social workers/Baby P thing: now no one wants to be a social worker, so there are no good social workers out there fixing a flawed system.
    Anyway, I’ve digressed a little. The protest was pointless, and to me it achieved nothing except some venting of anger and to confirm for me that lots of people really don’t understand economics, politics, or how the country works in general.

  4. Selfish children take to the streets and get in my bloody way

    May 4, 2009 by superlative

    Brighton has been taken over today by lots of idiotic children with no respect for other people. The ‘protesters’ have decided it would be a good idea to disrupt the lives of innocent (and uninterested) people by blocking roads, hurling missiles, letting off flares, smashing light bulbs, and dancing on a café roof.

    And what was all this in aid of? Well it was fairly vague actually. The ‘protest’ was advertised as being “against war and greed”. What, just war and greed in general? How ridiculous. You can’t protest against greed in general, it’s an emotion. It’s like protesting against feeling a bit grumpy. And who were they directing their protest at anyway? What power do the residents of Brighton have to prevent war and greed? As far as I’m aware, the city isn’t at war with anyone at the moment, nor is it in charge of any multinational banks. If you really don’t like Israeli foreign policy, go and protest outside the Israeli embassy. At least then it’d be vaguely relevant. Or even better, go to Gaza, and hopefully step on a landmine while you’re there.

    They were protesting in part about the presence of an ‘arms factory’ in Brighton (which they say sells bomb-dropping equipment to Israel). Which is fine if you really want to protest about it, but the factory is on the edge of the city so why didn’t they just sod off up there? Why are you protesting at the PIER??

    It’s just ridiculous. I hate stupid left-wing children who basically don’t like “the establishment”, despite the fact that they probably would have died from cholera without it years ago. Their protests end up not really being about anything (because they have no real argument), and they just do it for the sake of it, like a tantrum. And then they bleat on about their right to peaceful protest, before completely disregarding the peaceful part and inflicting wanton criminal damage on a city that really couldn’t give a toss. Why attack a café? Why?? What’s that got to do with it? Why block up the traffic?

    I really don’t get it. If people care about the cause of their protest they would already be attending it; if they don’t, then getting in their way is just going to make them hate you and hate your cause by association. I now feel compelled to campaign for the presence of the arms factory in Brighton just because I’m so cross.

    I feel really sorry for the police who have had to deal with it all day, having objects thrown at them and people shouting in their faces. The police haven’t got anything to do with war or greed anyway, they’re a domestic public organisation, and yet they have to bear the brunt of this idiotic behaviour.

    The protesters should count themselves lucky they don’t live in a country where they break out the water cannons and tear gas at the first sign of trouble. Their violent, antisocial, pathetic behaviour is more than deserving of a high-pressure hose in the face.

  5. A lot of fuss about nothing

    April 3, 2009 by superlative

    Well my anxieties about travelling to London during apocalyptic civil unrest proved to be completely unfounded, as I sailed quite happily up to London and back without seeing a single protester. I don’t think there were as many people around yesterday as there had been on Wednesday, and the only evidence I saw that there may have been some protests somewhere was the occasional policeman in a yellow bib.

    My training was hmmm alright. It was run fairly satisfactorily, but was quite different to what I thought it was going to be on paper and actually wasn’t relevant to what I needed at all. So I learnt some things, but will probably never use them. Still, it was a day out of the office, and I actually got home slightly earlier than I do normally, so I’m not really complaining.

    Friday again today, I don’t know where the weeks are going at the moment. Time is really flying by without a lot actually happening. Might try to make it to Popstarz tonight, or if not then to Revenge tomorrow (or maybe both! But let’s not get overexcited).

  6. If I’m not back in 24 hours

    April 1, 2009 by superlative

    I have to go to London tomorrow for some IT training that I’m not particularly interested in. Where am I going? London Bridge. And where was one of the gathering points for G20 protesters today? London Bridge. Typical!

    So I don’t know what’s going to happen now, I’m just going to head up there and see. I think I might be alright because the protests tomorrow are more likely to be over in the Docklands near the ExCel thingy they’re having the actual summit at. I suppose the train could be crowded with protesters or something, or I might have trouble getting home, but I just won’t know until I’m there.

    It’s a bit annoying though. Of course the G20 summit wasn’t at the forefront of my mind when I booked the stupid training, why would it have been??

    I’ve been following the protests today both on the BBC live webcast and on Twitter. It’s been mostly quite controlled, with just the windows at a branch of Royal Bank of Scotland smashed and some isolated violence with the police. From what I could see on the webcast it was a few trouble makers trying to incite the police to fight them, while the rest of the protesters looked on a bit uneasily and wondered if they were going to get baton-charged. One of the main problems seemed to be that even once some of the protesters wanted to leave, the police wouldn’t let them. I wasn’t quite sure about that, I suppose if people were moving and regrouping all over the place the police would get easily overrun, but it seemed a bit stupid when some people actually wanted to go home and were being forced to keep protesting.

    So we shall see what happens tomorrow. Hopefully if it’s bad at London Bridge I will find out early and can just turn around and come back. I’ll be more annoyed to get stuck in central London and not be able to get a train back home.