Sunday, June 25, 2006

Father's Day

Last Sunday was Father's Day, - not a traditional English celebration, but an American creation by Sonora Smart Dodd in 1909 and subsequently exported, and was designed to ensure that Dads also had their day and, more cynically, card manufacturers have another contrived day to make a profit! Personally, it doesn't really mean a lot to me, but I go along with it.

However, my kids did get me a card, and I felt it was rather good. It lists 10 things that Dads only ever hear in their dreams:
  • "Dad, you must teach me some of your funky dance moves."
  • "Dad, is there anything I can do for you?"
  • "Dad, here's that fiver I borrowed from you."
  • "Dad, nice shirt, could you give me some fashion tips?"
  • "Dad, I couldn't possibly accept any more of your hard-earned cash."
  • "Dad, don't give me any pocket money, treat yourself."
  • "Dad, I'm listening."
  • "Dad, I agree, that's enough of my cheek."
  • "Dad, I won't be needing a lift tonight, you're not a twenty-four hour taxi service."
  • "Yes Dad, you're right as always!"
Wouldn't all of the above help to make this world a better place? Ah well, at least I can dream.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Football World Cup

Although football is not my most favourite of games, we are in the midst of a football and beer drinking fest, of which the England Football team are taking part (they are playing football, I'm drinking the beer!).

We have just completed the group stage which consists of a round-robin of matches with three other teams, - the top two going through to the knock-out stage. We have, so far, failed to have been fully convincing, but the important thing to remember is that we have come top of our group; we haven't lost a match; we've scored 5 goals with only 2 against. Although it has been frustrating, we are in the best position we could ever hope to be in at this stage.

Who said, supporting England would be easy!

Let's hope they are working hard as I type. On the whole, our defense and mid-field would seem to be pretty solid and with the possibility of Ferdinand and Neville coming back niggles and knocks, some of the indecision in defense is likely to be eliminated. Ferdinand and Terry are true World class.

Mid field, Gerrard seems to be firing on all cylinders, and Lampard is getting into shooting positions - eventually one will go in! My only doubts are up front. Crouch, at this level, looks a little off the pace, but he does hold the ball up well, Rooney is not yet fully match fit, but I'm sure he will start to make a real impression. What we need is to start playing as a team. We have the players, we just need the team-work.

Time to get behind them, and the beer in for Sunday's match against Ecuador. Well done England so far.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Is This The Sensible Way To Deal With Paedophiles

First off, I am a father of two children, and the thought of anything happening to them brings me out in a cold sweat and gives me sleepless nights. The idea of any pervert getting their hands on them frightened me, and if anyone did do anything, I would probably commit some offences of my own!

For some time, a tabloid newspaper , I suspect in search of sensationalist headlines, has been campaigning for something it calls 'Sarah's Law' after the assault and death of Sarah Payne six years ago and modeled on 'Megan's Law' in America.

Now I don't know how it works in the US, but from what the paper has said should happen would, I believe, lead to vigilantism and the driving of these people under-ground. Sure, those charged with protecting society should be fully aware of these people and where they are and what they are doing, but the rest of us? Do I really want to know that someone round the corner has a conviction for child abuse? If I did know, how would that effect the way I live, and how I parent my children? Would I want to do something about it? I honestly don't have an answer, but what I do know is that we shouldn't, at the whim of newspaper sales, destroy a cornerstone of British justice quickly and without sensible thought.

Moreover, the police are not happy with the way the debate in this country is going. Chief Constable Terry Grange told BBC News he was extremely concerned the Home Office had "surrendered" power over [child abuse] policy to the News of the World [newspaper].

When viewed emotionally, Sarah's (Megan's) Law would seem to be the answer, but intellectually, I feel it would be taking the wrong road. Child abuse and murder is an horrendous crime, and needs to be dealt with carefully, and with wisdom, not headlines.

Six years ago, the tabloid press, by 'outing' paedophiles, caused some of the worst scenes of vigilantism this country has seen in a centuary, and brought about the deaths of two people who had been mistakenly identified.

Finally, 90% of child abuse is perpetrated by someone the child knows, and is often a relative!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Suicide Is A PR Stunt!

Colleen Graffy, a senior foreign policy official in the Bush administration, has stated that three illegally detained people at Guantanamo Bay, 2 Saudi's and one from Yemen, killed themselves as part of a PR stunt! She said that the deaths were "... good PR move to draw attention," and, "a tactic to further the jihad cause."

The base commander and war criminal, Navy Rear Admiral Harry Harris, said that the suicides were "...not an act of desperation but an act of 'asymmetric' warfare against us".

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "The deaths of these three men does not represent an 'asymmetrical act of war' as the Americans unbelievably claim, but rather an act of absolute desperation."

Former British inmate, Shafiq Rasul, added: "There is no hope in Guantanamo! The only thing that goes through your mind day after day is how to get justice or how to kill yourself.

"It is the despair - not the thought of martyrdom - that consumes you there."

I can't believe how far the people in the American administration have sunk in their view of humanity. There can be NO excuse to accuse those who have been interned illegally for years, of carrying out PR stunts. I agree that there is a message here. It is one of people without hope. People who have no other means of escape from the mental, and probable physical, torture. Of people who feel as if the world has abandoned them.

And of course, the moral tone of the administration is set by those at the top.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Quality Blogging Time

Happy Birthday
It is really weird, but this self-imposed task to blog is slipping a bit in recent times and I feel guilty!

Why should I feel guilty? For those who regularly visit, it has probably been noticable that I've recently been doing less and less blogs. Not because there is less and less going on in the world, nor is it because I am getting bored or lazy. It's just that my hours at work have changed, which means I get back at a more 'normal' time and the weather has been superb. The idea of sitting at the computer trying to think of something to say, is not as appealing as sitting in the garden with a pint of beer, listening to the birds (there are some blackbirds nesting in our hedge and the chicks are pretty noisy) and the children out playing.

Please check back from time to time, because, being Britain, it will rain at some time, and so I will be returning to the blog.

However, my main guilt in all this is that I've not gone visiting as much as I should, and for that I do apologise. I haven't forgotten you, and I will catch up soon.

Take care everyone.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Do We Never Learn

A London Assembly inquiry into the London bombings in July 2005 has found the in the initial moments, lack of communication and overall organisation very rapidly became a major problem when coping with the atrocities. They also found emergency first-aid points set up for just such an incident were empty of equipment, and people were having to go to local chemists and pharmacies to get bandages and plasters and antiseptics etc.

Eighteen years ago, a major fire took place at King's Cross underground where exactly the same circumstances were found. Reports then, stated that the number one priority was to ensure the ability of agencies to talk to each other both above ground and below, and, critically, between those at the surface and those down below.

They had 18 years to get it installed, tested and working properly, - why didn't they? I bet it had something to do with money!

It is important to state, that those who were first down and attended the injured, performed heroically, and used good imagination and thought to provide the best level of care they could give, given the circumstances, but they could have had much better back-up, resource and direction had the lessons of King's Cross been learnt and implemented.