Tuesday, 27 December 2011

acupuncture as justice gives society the needle

blue-sky thinking or sharp practice?
When a drugs worker I saw many people helped by acupuncture, and so was interested to see it used on teenagers who terrorise communities. The articles didn’t mention whether the therapy had been requested by the criminals, or had been imposed upon them by courts like an ASBO.

This would have been a crucial piece of information, and it’s significant that the mother of one boy – Sonny Grainger – was reported in May as having "urged police to be tougher on her son".

When used on people who want to overcome harmful behaviour, acupuncture and other therapies do not work in a vacuum: they are holistic proceedures, meaning that the relationships between patients and between patient and therapist are just as important as the treatment. If somebody doesn’t want to be there, the treatment will not work. As a drugs-service manager once commented, you can’t sentence somebody to counselling, and this is no less true of any other holistic therapy.

All too often, people need to discover how bad things can get before they see the need to find a way out of behaviours that harm themselves and others. Our liberal, middle-class judiciary help neither victims nor perpetrators by assuming that the objects of their "progessive" justice will respond as if they themselves were middle-class liberals.

This is one of many reasons why I’ll be voting for the British Freedom Party at the next elections: their crime and justice policies put the rights of the victims before the rights of the perpetrator. This is not just good for society but will eventually pay off for those perpetrators who have been given the chance to touch rock-bottom a sufficient number of times to want to stop their own pain. Then acupuncture and other therapies, if freely chosen, might actually have a chance to produce results.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Monday, 26 December 2011

it must be Christmastime - the RMT's on strike

Aresenal’s Boxing-Day game with Wolves has been moved because people can’t get there, in a stunning expression of disdain for ordinary folk from London and far beyond by the leaders of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers’ Union.

It's not just football fans being targeted: as the recession threatens deepen, the strikes have been timed to cause maximum disruption to the post-Christmas sales in London, our main retail powerhouse.

The RMT has acted to against ordinary people’s intentions before: when the English Defence League went to Tower Hamlets in September to protest against its infestation by radical Islamism, the union’s Tube and bus drivers acted to cut off the area. The coach I travelled into London on was informed by the driver that "the BNP (?!) and EDL are marching, so expect trouble". (There was indeed trouble; a woman was thrown to the floor and kicked by women-hating Sharia supporters.)

But a closer look reveals that not every transport worker was singing from the RMT’s hymnbook. The EDL’s report refers to "Tube staff being all too happy to assist us, and even giving us sole use of a platform at Kings Cross station in the run-up to the demonstration."

These helpful staff probably belonged to the RMT – so why the difference? Does the union have members who are tired of the hard-left politics, blind faith in diversity and inflated wages of the top brass? These are certainly criticisms of unions by their members where I work.

I believe there’s an opportunity here to found workers’ committees for people who value their hard-won rights as employees but resent the TUC’s hypocrisy; free-thinking folk who don’t accept that protecting your job means you have to launder money for any political organisation. And, perhaps, who enjoy shopping or watching football on Boxing Day.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Thursday, 22 December 2011

drugs damage piles up under the moral high ground

needlesCambridge News has reported about drugs needles being found beneath university preparation organisation Cambridge Seminars College.

What surprised me was that anybody was surprised by paraphernalia lying about: this happens all over the country.

More depressing was the News’ scrambling to the moral high ground, while its coverage of calls to legalise illegal drugs is heavily biased towards being in favour.

Campaigners are right to point to the harm caused by alcohol and tobacco, but fail to see that this argument undermines itself: alcohol and tobacco are no less harmful for being legal.

True, legalising hard drugs would help ensure that they aren’t "cut" with noxious substances, but we’d still see overdoses and complications of administration, while usage would still fuel crime and endanger the vulnerable: for example, legal narcotics would still be procured by pimps to encourage risk-taking behaviour among their victims. (And just as alcohol is sometimes still "turbocharged" with meths, so substances would still be added to legalised drugs to strengthen/elongate the experience.)

As things are, however, there’s a better case for increasing the prescribing of heroin to long-term users – to be taken in a secure environment at the users’ risk – than for legalising cannabis, or at least its superstrong variant, skunk. Most of this is home-grown – with Vietnamese gangs not being averse to using trafficked child labour as gardeners – whereas heroin comes in from Asia, largely through Pakistan.

Hard drug-use is here to stay until politicians realise that it cannot be brought under control within our borders. Until robust policies – like those proposed by the British Freedom Party – on drugs are enacted, harm-reduction is all we can hope for. Facing up to a problem starts with acknowledging its scale, which is not helped by newspapers pretending an everyday occurrence happens once in a blue moon.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Military Wives: did Simon Cowell scuttle his own single?

click to go to the Spice Girls official siteI’m not sure why music-buyers were so resentful of Simon Cowell’s hits machine that they let Rage Against the Machine swear their way to the top in Christmas 2009. Cowell’s progenies were certainly manufactured; but so were, say, the Monkees, Cream and the Spice Girls.

click to go to The Beatles websiteThe Girls managed to bag the Christmas number one three times consecutively, the same as The Beatles – although after a year’s hiatus they got Christmas back again with Hello Goodbye.

X Factor winners had four consecutive number ones until Rage in the Machine, then winner Matt Cardle scored with When we Collide, powered by the well-oiled media machine that is Cowell’s record label Syco.

So why did this year’s winners’ record, Cannonball by Little Mix, get released just in time to peak a week too early? Did the skilled media manipulator make a mistake?

learn more about the Wives on Gareth Malone's siteI don’t think so. He’s had what he wanted: a number one from them. I reckon he scuppered their chances to get this Sunday’s top spot so that the Military Wives Choir have a clear run with their single Wherever you Are, going so far as to "concede" their victory.

As choirmaster Gareth Malone explained to Chris Tarrant on Radio 2, the frequency of repatriations of bodies coupled with the tenth anniversary of our engagement in Afghanistan has concentrated minds upon the plight of serving and former soldiers and their families in a fashion unprecedented in modern times.

If Cowell’s act were seen to be fighting the Wives for Number 1, the national repercussions could shake his shows to their foundation on both sides of the Atlantic, so it seems he’s wisely decided to fight another day.

But there’s still competition out there, and the Military Wives will only succeed if we buy their song – listen to it below, then DOWNLOAD from iTunes or Amazon!

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Monday, 12 December 2011

Cameron's EU veto drowns in a sea of Titanic metaphors...

Jeremy Vine: click for showTo listen to the ongoing media fallout over David Cameron’s use of our EU veto, you’d think the Eurozone wasn’t sinking under red-tape and corruption but rather the weight of Titanic metaphors. In the sea of deckchairs and icebergs, however, Jeremy Vine (right) did come up with two good ones on his show today, summing up the positions of the Conservative and Lib Dem parties by saying that the former had left us as isolated as a passenger refusing to board the fated liner, while the latter believed we should be on the ship trying to guide it away from its nemesis.

However, attempts to paint the Tories as right-wing isolationists and everybody else as wishing to cast their lot in with Europe are simplistic and specious. Europhilia within the Conservative party, shown by Edward Heath when he took us in, was writ large with the "men in grey suits'" political assassination of Margaret Thatcher because of her opposition to Eurocratic ambitions for a superstate.

Left-wing figures like Tony Benn, alternatively, have never disguised their loathing for the EU project, and blogger Shiraz Socialist highlighted the "geriatric Stalinists" who supported calls for a referendum on membership of the EU. Indeed, go into any pub and strike up a conversation with blue-collar Britons – the voters Labour abandoned a generation ago – and you’ll hear criticisms of EU policies like those regarding fishing, agriculture and diversity that would make David Cameron look like Sarkozy’s and Merkel’s love-child.

Okay, I surrender: the Eurozone is like the Titanic. As it sinks, we should try to provide humanitarian aid if we are asked. But that doesn’t include climbing on the damn thing and sinking with it. This is something David Cameron understands, I believe, and something that will win a badly-needed lifebelt: votes from the many tired of EU fascism.

not waving? Click for more Titanic metaphors from the BBC

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Groomed for sex: not quite all exposed

click for a report from the Daily Mail
BBC Three has broadcast A groundbreaking documentary about a problem in the North of England with Pakistani men treating white girls as “easy meat”. It was brave of Radio 5 presenter Adil Ray to take on the subject, as the liberal white establishment’s reaction to Jack Straw’s (right) game-changing statement on the matter was to criticise its wording.

Exposed: Groomed for Sex was a complex portrayal of a community in turmoil at its dirty laundry being so luridly aired.

Gangs of Pakistani males of various ages invest months grooming young British girls as young as 12 then, as abusers do, convince them they want a sexual relationship. A disappointment was frequent references to the Pakistani community as "Asians" or "British Asian youth", as if no other religions exist on that continent.

Disappointing, too, that in a vox-pop some youths accused EDL marchers of worsening matters, whereas in reality the English Defence League and Casuals United have put Islam's abuses on everybody’s lips and possibly inspired Straw’s intervention.

Ultimately, this hour-long documentary about Muslims can only be understood in the context of somebody who wasn’t mentioned once: their prophet, Mohammed. Abandoning his life of peace and toleration in Mecca to be worshipped as a warlord in Medina, he married a six-year-old girl. and had sex with her when she reached nine. Mohammed’s actions are key to understanding the behaviour of some Muslims towards young girls, so it’s perhaps disingenuous of Ray to say that "the British Pakistani community have to…separate the law-abiding community from the criminal fraternity" when the latter, seen through the prism of their prophet, are members of the former.

The documentary suggests that sections of the Pakistani community in England are determined to confront grooming. In doing so, they must confront Mohammed. I wish them luck.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Click here to go to the site for Exposed: Groomed for Sex on the BBC Three website

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

BBC "tastemakers" decide what you'll hear next year

It’s not 2012 yet, but the BBC has decided what next year’s pop music radio will sound like. It has decided who 2012’s top artists will be, and produced a playlist picked by 120 "tastemakers", most of whose names left me asking: "who?"

click to go to Bruce MacGregor's presenter profileYou could say that the BBC’s controlling tendencies are holographically-coded. On one level it decides what those of us who care to listen to its radio will listen to next year. On another Bruce MacGregor (right), presenting BBC Radio Scotland’s flagship folk show Travelling Folk, found himself unable to say the title of one of his tracks, Mairerad Green and Anna Massie’s jig Malteser Madness, in case he might be accused of "product placement".

National DJs willing to unilaterally introduce new music have been systematically distanced from prime-time – for example, "whispering" Bob Harris has been moved to midnight on Sunday morning on BBC2 – and the legendary John Peel’s shoes remain unfilled.

Perhaps closest to Peel is Stuart Maconie on the digital station 6 Music with his twin shows The Freak Zone and The Freakier Zone. What grates about these shows, however, is the frequency with which Maconie reveals his BBC-friendly assumptions by describing an act as "left-field", as song as "coming out of the left wing" or applying his highest accolade to an outfit by cooing it’s "a collective".

Much of what BBC Radio does is world-class, but its decision to hand £1,000,000 of our money to U2 in free publicity summed up its strategy: to decide what people should want then set about "educating" them as to why they wanted it. Privatising the fascist media monolith’s radio services and selling advertising where the interminable trailers now lie would serve a double goal: it would save us money, and let hugely talented individuals get on with being world-class.

Tony Urquhart
300 words

Go to Sound of 2010 and decide for yourself!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Yana Stadnik: my kind of immigrant

Yana Stadnik: click for the Sunday Telegraph articleWomen’s wrestling is in turmoil as the Olympics approach: foreign athletes have replaced the entire British team, which now only comprises two Ukranian women. This is yet another indictment of our tick-box culture, where the means both justify and are subservient to the ends.

But it’s not always that simple. Yana Stadnik, originally flown in to spar with British wrestlers, is now the best in her category and has grown to love this country that has adopted her. She says: "I wrestle for GB. On my back it is written Great Britain and it is in my heart too".

It would, of course, be best to have British athletes performing for us at the Olympics, but what do we do when we have a non-Briton who is the best at what she does, and is raring to be our champion? And how would we explain her exclusion to an audience that wants to see Team GB win medals, especially when high-performing British football clubs are full of foreign names?

read about John Lennon's deportation orderHowever, since Stadnik has no agenda to remake our country in the image of the one she left, "multiculturalists" will see no need to keep their race-hate in the cupboard. Watch out for vitriol as they parade spurious patriotic credentials. And yet, hope exists: in 1975, John Lennon gained a US Red Card after a 4-year battle which provided "testimony to his faith in this American dream".

It’s not Stadnik’s fault she became the best. Her story is like those fairy tales where an understudy proves better than the actress she covers and lands the leading part. However things turn out, my hope for this particular tale is that Yana Stadnik will have the chance to be united with "this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England".

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Cambridge News: unevolved coverage of the strikes

walkouts in Cambridge: can you spot Che?If you read only the Cambridge Evening News, you might think that the public-sector strike spread nothing but joy and enlightenment with no inconvenience.

Its first six pages were filled with breathless appreciation of the walkouts that was negligently partisan. Only on page 6 was there any hint of opposition to the strikes in Cambridgeshire, in the “no” section of a debate article, and in a "vox-pop" section of comments on the online forum, with three comments for and three against.

Compare this with coverage on Monday 11 June of the English Defence League march in Cambridge that took place on Saturday 9, much of which has disappeared from the paper’s online archive. There was a similar amount of coverage, with the difference that the editorial article was brought into the fray, stating that the EDL were "not welcome to return", despite the fact that the 200-strong demo was far less disruptive than yesterday’s 4000-strong march and rally.

The prejudice is owed to the paper’s allegiance to the old view of class consciousness, the socialist dogma that workers can only transcend their lot when they become aware of their chains. Demonstrators’ sinister devotion to spreading their view of class consciousness was revealed when, according to the News, "Janette Evely, a teacher at St Philip’s Primary School in Vinery Way, Cambridge, was accompanied by some of her pupils."

Polly Toynbee's recent BBC documentary about class consciousness rued its demise with plummy-voiced obsequies, failing to consider that class consciousness hasn’t faded: Labour’s betrayal of its blue-collar voting base forced its evolution. And my evolved class-conscious analysis of the strikes is this – why should I demand to pay more tax so a bunch of middle-class activists who earn more than I ever will can get a pension I can only dream of?

Joe Daniels
300 words