Quotas. Got fill the quota.

October 23rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Quotas are all well and good but they should be aspirational, something to aim for and not legally binding.


EU commissioners are due to debate proposals that would force quotas for women on corporate boards.

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding is in favour of the proposals to make it mandatory for companies to reserve 40% of seats for women.

The problem with legally binding quotas for employees of any sort, from the lowliest employees to the highest level of government, is that they are exclusionary. The quota criteria, whether that is gender, race, ability or anything thing else, becomes paramount. If someone doesn’t fit into the criteria that is irrlelavent to doing the job, then they cannot have the job no matter how good at it they would be.

Quotas should be something to aim for. Instead of forcing companies to have 40% disabled people or 25% from ethnic minotities or 50% women, the reason behind the low turnout should be looked at. If a sector decides it needs more women, it should discover why are there so few women currently in their industry and then steps taken to encourage more woment to join. Whether that’s the image, education or whatever that puts off a dempgraphic from entering an indusrty.

By forcing quotas on institutions you get good people refuse positions because they otherwise they will upset the legally required rartio. You get resentment, where someone gets a job just because they are disabled or whatever.

Require companies and instiutions to try to attract more diverse applicants to positions, but don’t restrict filling a position to the second best just because they’ll be another tick in a box.

On the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix

April 20th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Damon Hill, the ex-F1 driver, has written piece in the Guardian about F1’s decision to go ahead with the GP in Bahrain. I’m not sure what he’s trying to say, but I think it comes down to ‘things would’ve been worse if it had been cancelled’.

After a bit of preamble about how F1 is the ‘bad boy’ of sport for various reasons, including money, spying, cheating, Damon says this…

Formula One does not, cannot, and has never existed in total isolation from the general concerns of humanity. In this sense, the sport is always on the edge of politics. The moment something becomes an issue for all of us, it is a political issue. So the question is this; is the Bahrain Grand Prix now an issue for all of us? Or is it more accurate to ask; are Bahraini politics an issue for all of us?

Sport, is and it isn’t political. Sportsmen and women always say they don’t want to get involved, they just want to run around and win their medal or laurels or whatever shiny bits they get handed after going faster, higher, further than anyone else.

I think sport becomes political when it goes international, no matter how hard the team/event/governing body tries to keep out of it.

You can have domestic competitions and it’s just between yourselves. As soon as you have an international event, the competitors are approving you. They are saying ‘You’re ok, we don’t mind being associated with you.’

The bigger, more prestigious the event, the bigger the stamp of approval.

The Bahrain Grand Prix isn’t an issue for all of us. It makes no odds tome if the F1 circus goes to Bahrain. It should matter to the F1 people. Do you really want to be associated with that type of regime? Do you really want to lend your credibility as a respectable sport to such a regime as that?

Bahraini politics is an issue for all of us. Everyone that cares about their fellow man at least. The same applies to China, Syria, Burma and all the rest.

The critical question for F1 is whether it has made the right decision to insist on returning to Bahrain in these times. There are three main considerations for the FIA to make; security, politicisation, and the reputation of its blue riband event, F1.

On security, they insist that it is satisfactory, having consulted the people responsible and after taking advice at the highest level. But they do not deny that there is a risk.

Security should be the last question asked, not the first. If the answer to the other questions lead you to conclude that it is ok for F1 to go to Bahrain, then you ask ‘is it safe’.

On whether the FIA event is being conscripted into a political battle to support one side over the other, it is not clear. Many say that this is how it looks. The event is subtitled as UniF1ing Bahrain, so strictly speaking it is trying to appear to be good for the whole nation of Bahrain. The trouble is there are many Bahrainis who disagree about what is good for Bahrain, hence their calls for democracy.

F1 might not be conscripted, but in going ahead with the GP it is being a useful idiot. “uniF1ing Bahrain” may sound good, and it might work in a country that isn’t experiencing all the upheaval Bahrain is. In Bahrain though, it is a political message. The equivalent of ‘we can’t we all get along’. Even if the whole country loved Formula 1, a mutual love of the sport isn’t going to stop peaceful protest being dispersed with live ammunition. It’s a distraction.

Article 1 of the FIA statutes says: “The FIA shall refrain from manifesting racial, political or religious discrimination in the course of its activities and from taking any action in this respect.” So far it has not manifested anything other than a desire for the race to take place. However, could holding a race that is becoming a divisive issue for a country, if not for the sport also, constitute “taking action in this respect”?

Well, seeing as this race cannot take place without the sanction of the government, I don’t see how it cannot be political. F1 will be bringing money and cedibility to a brutal regime.

A problem in the lead-up to this event was the apparent collusion of Formula One with the promoters in promulgating the view that Bahrain only had a small issue with a few unruly youths. This I regarded as a very clear case of understatement. It was the view of Bahrain that Bahrain would like the world to buy. And it was going to use F1 to help it. This was the point at which I expressed my concerns about this situation. For me, the FIA was dangerously close to appearing totally naive, misinformed or, worse, taking the side that would like to underplay the humanitarian, social and security situation in Bahrain. Sure enough, the international community has had quite a lot to say about what is going on in Bahrain since. This was so inevitable that I am still trying to understand why the FIA did not take the initiative by making at least some comment that indicated it understood the difficulty of the situation.


Jean Todt, the president of the FIA, has been consistent in taking the stance of not saying anything that could be construed as political. So he has said next to nothing.

This I find baffling. Surely it is possible to condemn acts of inhumanity without taking a side?

No, is the simple answer. If you condemn the act, you are implicitly, if not explicitly condemning the actor. That is why Jean Todt has said nothing. If he condemn acts of inhumanity by the rulers of Bahrain, that is millions of lost dollars for F1. Everything has a price.

The Khalifas asked for the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) themselves. Is it political to avoid religious, political and racial discrimination? Surely these are universal human values?

Cherif Bassiouni, the chairman of the BICI, managed to do the report and advocate the GP went ahead for the overarching good of the people. He wrote to Todt in February saying: “Aside from the economic, publicity and public relations advantages that the grand prix brings to Bahrain, it is, on this one-year anniversary of the February-March events of last year, an important point of departure for the people of Bahrain to forge ahead in their national efforts towards reconciliation.”

The people of Bahrain would find it a lot easier to reconciliate with the government if the latter weren’t so, erm, oppressive. Because if this continued oppression, the Bahrain government sees the arrival of the GP as A Good Thing for the reasons Bassiouni gives above, especially the PR value the GP gives them.

At the centre is this extraordinary man, Bernie Ecclestone, who few dare to publicly disagree with. Perhaps we should, instead of just muttering under our breath, scared of losing our passes.

Yes, Damon. Yes you should.

But the problem is also, quite often, he is absolutely right, despite his pithy way of communicating. Take this quote: “Do you think that if we cancel the Formula One that all the problems will just disappear?” The answer to that is clearly: “No. They wouldn’t.” They would just be starting.

The problems are there whether F1 is there or not. If Formula One does go though, the Bahrain regime wouldn’t benefit from the credibility of being able to say “How bad can we be? Everything is fine. Look, we’re even hosting major sporting events.”

The problems wouldn’t disappear, but F1 wouldn’t be part of the problem.

Frank Gardner, security correspondent for the BBC, has said some in Bahrain feel that “if the grand prix were to be called off then the Sunni community would be so enraged it would be harder than ever to bridge the gap between government and opposition.” I think that rather confirms the view of Bahrain as more than a little tense and that the issue is not so simple as it looks.

Doesn’t what Frank Gardener say concern you, Damon? Some people think that if the GP doesn’t go ahead, life could get very difficult for a section of the population. Doesn’t that tell something about the regime? Isn’t that enough of a reason to say “y’know what? i don’t what to be associated with these bullies.”

How does that make you feel, knowing that if you don’t race, teh proverbial kitteh gets it?

Above all, it’s the FIA/F1’s choice. At best hosting F1 will do no harm. At worst, the F1 will be giving respectability to a regime that doesn’t deserve it. If they can live with that, then fine.

The real reason F1 is going to Bahrain, and let’s not be shy about this, is money. As i said earlier, everything and everyone has a price.

Billy No-Mates

December 8th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink


European leaders have embarked on a mammoth effort to forestall the ruin of the single currency at what was seen as the most important Brussels summit in years, with France, Germany and the leaders of the eurozone lined up against David Cameron and his campaign to extract a price in return for agreeing to Europe’s new “fiscal compact”.

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France said the two-day summit was the EU’s last chance to save the euro. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, the central figure pushing a new punitive euro regime, voiced confidence that a satisfactory deal would be reached. Cameron insisted he wanted a “fair deal” for Britain and warned he would not hesitate to veto Franco-German proposals unless he got something in return.

Tough-talking Cameron. Showing them foreigners who’s boss, eh?

In what was seen as a warning on behalf of Germany and France, Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg and chairman of the Eurogroup, told Cameron to back off or face the prospect of being sidelined by a new treaty forged simply among the 17 eurozone countries.

Does he really think that all these countries that are directly affected gonna not implement what they think they need to because some jumped up, shiny headed, PR man from Britain thinks it’s a bad move for his tiny country?

The Eurozone, those countries that use the Euro currency, are the majority. 17 out of 27 countries. This summit is about saving the Euro, not bringing closer integration or forwarding the European project. This is not about us. It’s about them.

Cameron hasn’t got a chance, what-ever happens he’s fucked, at home or abroad and he’s just carries on like nobodies noticed.

Bahrain: I’ll get my dad on you!

June 15th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Via D-Notice2012 (the blogger formerly known as D-Notice) I hear that the Bahrain government is going to sue the Independent for publishing stories about anti government protesters being shot by police, torture, being in the pocket of Saudi Arabia, etc. Y’know, the usual Middle East dictator/ruling royal family past-times and hobbies.

My first reaction was “good luck with that”, but then I remembered our courts aren’t the most sensible at times, especially when a foreign government (and one that is now in the Saudis’ pocket) is concerned.

D-Notice notes that UK local governments can’t sue in English courts, so foreign one shouldn’t be able to either. It looks like they’re gonna try, though.

If Bahrain does get to court it’ll be for libel, I presume and so the onus will be on the Indie to prove what it says is true rather than Bahrain to prove otherwise. This, I’m guessing shouldn’t be too hard for the Indie to do seeing as a) it isn’t just the Indie saying this stuff and b) the Bahrain government has singled out Rober Fisk as the main reporter responsible and Fisk has a reputation for being bob on with this type of thing.

But does Baharain really want to go to court, or is it, more likely just trying to scare the Indie/press?

Bahrain has much more resources than the Indie and so could drag this out and cost the Indie so much that it hashas no choice but to capitulate, after all, if this did get to court and the judgement went against Bahrain, it could open it up to charges of war crimes or crim against humanity (or whatever) and end up with arrest warrant being issued against it’s leaders for the International Criminal Court (or whatever the place is called).

Would that threat if the ICC scare the Bahraini officials? I doubt it.

My second reaction was ” WTF? hasn’t this guy read the British press?”

The “Publications director-general and acting press and external
media director-general” Nawaf Mohammed Al-Maawda has

called upon all media to observe accuracy and objectivity and project the true image…

Hahahaha! In the British press?! Like I said, good luck with that one.

Governed by consent

June 6th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Old Holborn posed an interesting question to his MP and I wondered how my MP would answer.

So I asked her…

Dear Ms Blackwood,

You’re my Member of Parliament Let’s be honest, you’re not there to represent me or my wishes, that’s why you joined a political party.

You won the election, even though most people in the Oxford West & Abingdon constituency didn’t vote to be represented by you in Parliament so now I’d like to ask you a very simple question.

How do I withdraw my consent to be governed by you?

I’ll assume you believe that the population are governed by consent and not force, so how do I withdraw mine? You see, I don’t want anyone to represent me in Parliament. I want to be free of other people assuming responsibility on my behalf, making laws on my behalf and raising taxes on my behalf. I want to be free of all the Statutes and Acts you guys spend your days creating “on my behalf”, “with my consent”.

I’m not an anarchist or a troublemaker, I’m just asking you a simple question.
How do I withdraw my consent to be governed?

Or MUST I be governed and taxed? I know if I refuse to pay whatever taxes you decide are in my best interests, you will put me in prison, I know if I refuse to abide by whatever laws you decide are in my best interests, you will put me in prison and I’ve decided, actually, that’s not a very good deal. Not in “my best interests” you might say.

Before you decide that MY paying taxes is in the best interests of everyone else, remember that I was born a free man, not a labouring serf to whom you can dictate that half my labour must be used for the betterment of others, or else I will go to jail. That is akin to slavery or bonded labour, something made illegal in 1956 by the UN. I demand nothing of Government and in return, ask that it demands nothing of me.

Well, Ms Blackwood? Am I free or am I only free to attempt to choose my master who will inflict his laws and his taxes upon me in an election? In which case I am not free and my labour belongs to the State, regardless of which political party holds office. A bonded labourer if you prefer.

I await your response. Please don’t use the “you are free to find somewhere else to live” argument, I was born here, here I will stay, and am perfectly capable of governing myself thanks. So, how do I withdraw my consent to be governed by you or Parliament and NOT be thrown in prison by you? Am I free or am I trapped in what Conservatives used to call a “closed shop”? Am I merely your servant whilst you pretend to be mine?

Dear Relative

March 17th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I got this email from a relative. Any other day I would’ve just binned it but today, it really pissed me off.

In 1952 President Truman established one day a year as a “National Day of Prayer.”

In 1988 President Reagan designated the First Thursday in May of each year as the National Day of Prayer.

In June 2007 (then) Presidential Candidate Barack Obama declared that the USA “Was no longer a Christian nation.”

This year President Obama canceled the 21st annual National Day of Prayer ceremony at the White House under the ruse Of “not wanting to offend anyone”

BUT… on September 25, 2009 from 4 AM until 7 PM, a National Day of Prayer FOR THE MUSLIM RELIGION was Held on Capitol Hill, Beside the White House. There were over 50,000 Muslims in D.C. that day.


I guess it Doesn’t matter if “Christians” Are offended by this event – We obviously Don’t count as “anyone” Anymore.

The direction this country is headed should strike fear in the heart of every Christian, especially knowing that the Muslim religion believes that if Christians cannot be converted, they should be annihilated.

This is not a Rumor – Go to the website To confirm this info: http://www.islamoncapitolhill.com

Send this to ten people and the person who sent it to you!… to let them know that indeed, it was sent out to many more.

So I replied…

Hi [relative],

I hope you are well.

Could you please stop sending me this stuff, I’m not interested in this type of overhyped, usually racist, usually false, propaganda.

For instance, this claims that Obama cancelled the Americans National Day of Prayer. This isn’t true. The White House may not have hosted it as usual, but the observance of the Day of Prayer was not cancelled. There is a subtle, but importance, difference.

This “National Day of Prayer for the Muslim religion” (the Muslim religion more commonly known as Islam) is not connected to the White House or Obama at all. It was an independent event that was authorised by the Capitol Hill police just like any other event.

Obama is a Christian. Praying with another religion does not make him that religion. Many leaders of countries join worship with religions other than their own. So what’s wrong? Is he not Christian enough? Is he secretly a Muslim? Do you really, honestly believe that Obama wants to turn the USA into a Muslim nation ruled by strict Sharia law and all that entails? Is the leader of a country only allowed to make every members of that country feel a part of it?

The quote about Muslims annihilating Christians is ridiculous as well. Sure, there are Muslims that believe that, but then the vast, vast majority, especially amongst the Western living population of Muslims that think that is complete rubbish. The Bible has just as many calls for violence in it as the Quran.

Te US is a secular country. Everybody is free to do as they please within the law. The people that put together these emails do not want that. They have an agenda. They do not want equality before the law. They wish to discriminate because of religion and/or race.

I don’t mean to offend, and I am not defending Muslims or Obama, just a little sick of the hyperbole that certain groups push over an isolated incident, especially when two minutes can show that the incident has been twisted and exagerated.


me, me, me, me, me.

February 22nd, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

As Libya is about to fall, with *air strikes* against the people, all David Cameron can think about is his mates in the boardroom…

Mr Cameron flew on to Kuwait, where he will deliver a speech making a “liberal conservative” call for widespread political reform in the region.

Since democracy often goes hand-in-hand with open markets, more freedom in the Middle East could deliver commercial opportunities for Britain, the Prime Minister will argue on Tuesday.

All this death of Libyan citizens at the hands trying to overthrow their dictator of forty years is still not quite physically sickening to Cameron, it’s just “quite appalling”. Still much less of a crime than giving prisoners the vote, which did make him feel all weird. Physically.

So now we have another notch in the David Cameron Scale of Horrible Things. Killing civilians with aeroplanes is not quite as bad a criminals voting for other, bigger criminals.

US State Department wants info on pretty much everyone on Twitter

January 12th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

From 21st Century Fix…

This, via Dave Winer, came my way this evening:

US subpoenas Twitter, seeking information on WikiLeaks’ 635,561 followers. http://r2.ly/6ixh

The article he links to can be found here:

A Dutch investigative journalist blasted the US Department of Justice for requesting information on everyone following WikiLeaks’ Twitter account and everyone they follow.

So this doesn’t only mean that I now potentially form part of a US government criminal investigation. It also means – if I’ve understood the slightly ambiguous phrase correctly – that if by any chance I decided to follow you on Twitter, you, as the recipient of the attentions of someone who also follows WikiLeaks, may just as easily find yourself the object of the attentions of some random US National Security official who – at some time in the future – will end up sticking his or her legalistic nose in your electronic communications, bank details, personal associations and cloud data.

But not because you yourself followed WikiLeaks. Simply because someone else who followed you also followed WikiLeaks.

On Mugabes’ ‘foreign owned comany’ policy

September 14th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Talking of fucking stupid ideas, here’s another, also based on the colour of someones skin, from Mugabe this time…

Mugabe told Reuters the government would proceed with a plan for local blacks to acquire 51 percent shares in foreign-owned firms, including mines and banks, despite criticism it will hurt investment flows into the country.

It has always been our aim to have control of our resources … and I don’t think the private sectors of the Western countries would, in total, decide to stay away

Don’t you just love the word ‘aquire’. It could mean oh so many different things.

If that 51% share of froeign owned companies is to be bought by individuals, then not many, I imagine, zimbabwean blacks are going to be able to afford to buy into it (if ‘aquire’ does indeed mean ‘buy’ and not ‘steal’), which leaves just the elite that already have money, keeping the redistrubution of wealth from local resources in the already wealthy.

The term ‘local blacks’ does not mean owned by the state, which income from those investments could be put back into the infrastructure of the country for all, for say, transport, education and health. Although the white Zimbabweans would also benefit, much much more of the impoverished black population would benefit rather than a few of the not so needy.

Denying an opportunity for a section of the popluation on the basis of skin colour, well that’s just good old fashioned racism isn’t it.

Mugabes statement tells me that he is just after an easy buck for him and his mates.


If it moves, shoot it. If it doesn’t move, shoot it till it does

September 3rd, 2010 § 4 comments § permalink

For fucks sake

An Israeli army officer who fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was acquitted on all charges by a military court yesterday.
The military court cleared the soldier of illegal use of his weapon, conduct unbecoming an officer and perverting the course of justice by asking soldiers under his command to alter their accounts of the incident.

Capt R’s lawyers argued that the “confirmation of the kill” after a suspect is shot was a standard Israeli military practice to eliminate terrorist threats.

The officer always followed standard practice, you see…

A recording of radio exchanges between Capt R and his troops obtained by Israeli television revealed that from the beginning soldiers identified Iman as a child.

In the recording, many people buy 5.56 ammo online to keep themselves protect themselves, a soldier in a watchtower radioed a colleague in the army post’s operations room and describes Iman as “a little girl” who was “scared to death”. After soldiers first opened fire, she dropped her schoolbag which was then hit by several bullets establishing that it did not contain explosive. At that point she was no longer carrying the bag and, the tape revealed, was heading away from the army post when she was shot.

Is that also standard practice? Shooting into a suspected bomb to see whether it actually is a bomb or not?

Although the military speculated that Iman might have been trying to “lure” the soldiers out of their base so they could be attacked by accomplices, Capt R made the decision to lead some of his troops into the open. Shortly afterwards he can be heard on the recording saying that he has shot the girl and, believing her dead, then “confirmed the kill”.

Even though the girl could be a lure, the captain still move some of his men into the open. Is that standard practice, too?

Capt R claimed that he had not fired the shots at the girl but near her. However, Dr Mohammed al-Hams, who inspected the child’s body at Rafah hospital, counted numerous wounds. “She has at least 17 bullets in several parts of the body, all along the chest, hands, arms, legs,” he told the Guardian shortly afterwards. “The bullets were large and shot from a close distance. The most serious injuries were to her head. She had three bullets in the head. One bullet was shot from the right side of the face beside the ear. It had a big impact on the whole face.”

He fired shots near, not at the girl? And she was shot 17 times? This man should be prosecuted for incompetence as well as murder.

Lost for words, I really am.

Via MsMaryViola

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