Harry Cole (AKA @torybear) is…

November 24th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

… a cunt.

What? You didn’t expect me to say he’s a nice bloke, did you?

h/t D-Notice

The Red Cross. Still banning Christmas, apparently.

November 22nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

The Daily Mail has admitted that Winterval, as a replacement for Christmas, is a myth, but there is another myth that originated with the Daily Mail that, although not quite as old, is potentially more damaging.

I’ve wrote about it last year and it’s reared it’s ugly head again: The Red Cross Ban Christmas.

The Mail story goes back to 2002 and about this time of year, just like Winterval, someone new finds this story and starts the shouting all over again. Go and read my previous post, here, and then come back.

Now you know the background to the Daily Mail story I want to re-iterate just why the Red Cross/Crescent needs to not do Christmas or any other religion.

One of the Red Cross’ Seven Fundamental Principles is neutrality. Without this, they are just another charity. I don’t mean to denigrate charities or make them sound inferior to the Red Cross, but without these seven principles, especially neutrality, the Red Cross wouldn’t enjoy the respected and unique position it has.

The Principle of Neutrality

the purpose of complying with the principle of Neutrality is to enjoy the confidence of all. Implicitly, this compliance with the principle of Neutrality is also a condition for operational efficiency, which requires confidence of all in many contexts, i.e. not only in armed conflicts contexts;

the principle of Neutrality prohibits a component of the Movement from taking part in hostilities;

the principle of Neutrality prohibits the Movement from engaging at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.

The point is that the Red Cross is not a political or religious organisation. This neutrality is one of our fundamental principles and governs everything we do in the whole Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It means that we can reach and help people in need, whoever and wherever they are. Often we provide help in countries that other organisations cannot or will not work in.
We cross front lines in times of war to help conflict victims and visit prisoners of war on both sides. We can only do this life-saving work because we are understood to be a completely neutral, independent organisation. Put simply, our neutrality saves lives.

We can’t let people in need down by compromising our neutrality. That is why we do not align ourselves with any particular political cause or religious creed anywhere in the world. And that’s why we don’t have any items of a religious nature in our shops.

A nativity scene in a shop in Kent might seem like it has nothing to do with our sensitive, precarious work in a war zone in Africa or the Middle East. But in a world where information travels quickly and pervasively – a world where an eight-year-old news story is still raising questions with our supporters – we have to make sure we act consistently across the board with regard to our neutrality.


I’m pretty sure most shops wouldn’t bother with xmas if they didn’t lose sales. The Red Cross would ‘do Christmas’ if it didn’t have ramifications in other areas of it’s operations.

People claim that the Red Cross is pandering to Muslims and minorities and being politically correct. Every time the story is repeated, the poster, a commenter or a forum thread member say they are going to stop donating, if they ever did in the first place, because of this. “This is a Christian country” they claim. This is flip side of the coin that the Red Cross gets from other quarters that mean there is a Red Crescent organisation. Exactly the same sentiment that shows exactly why the Red Cross needs, at it’s core, to be and to be seen to be neutral.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent need to be above this sort of bickering and this neutrality principle is them saying that they do not care where you are from, what you look like, who you believe in or what you have done. They will help you and you can let them help you because they will not preach, or condemn you, and the authorities will let them help because they will not interfere.

The Red Cross’ neutrality means that they can use that money were it’s needed, where other organisations cannot get to. I would say that is a little more important than pandering to people that want to see a little model nativity scene in every building they walk in to.

Is a fairy on a tree really that important?

The Daily Mail receives a letter from a lawyer

November 14th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

This (.pdf) is one of the most pleasant things I’ve read in a long time…

Florida based celebrity photo agency Mavrix have filed suit against the British newspaper for multiple copyright infringements, and are seeking statutory damages of $150,000 per infringement. With up to 10 images involved the total sought comes to $1.5m plus attorney’s fees and “any such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and appropriate”.

In court documents Mavrix accuse the Mail of “a pattern and practice of intellectual property piracy”:

“One of the Daily Mail employees who Mavrix interacted in the past regarding Mavrix images was Elliot Wagland, the Daily Mail Online Picture Editor. Defendants with Mr. Wagland’s assistance have a history of copyright piracy conduct. Indeed, the pattern and practice of Defendants is to ignore the demand of photo agencies or photographers to agree to rates before use and to simply take the pictures and use them without compensation or to then offer token compensation.”

h/t @waxnip

Privatising hospitals. It’s gonna work wonders, isn’t it?

November 12th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Circle Health took over a hospital recently. Basically a privatised NHS hospital. Everything is cool though, we’re told. It’ll be more efficient, nobody will lose out they said.

Well, predictably, guess what

[Circle Holdings] had been in negotiations with the government for two years over the takeover of Hinchingbrooke hospital; as the preferred bidder, it expected to be successful. In its document [share prospectus], the company reveals its aspiration to take over further hospitals but also spells out the risks to patients. It says: “As well as the establishment of further independent hospitals, Circle intends to significantly expand its NHS business.

“Circle’s growth has placed, and its anticipated growth will continue to place, a strain on its managerial, administrative, operational, financial, information technology and other resources and could affect its ability to provide a consistent level of service to its patients.”

That second paragraph is just wonderful, isn’t it?

h/t @DickMandrake


November 11th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

A Comment is Free open thread asks

It is a palindrome that occurs once every 100 years and has inspired an onset of global mysticism. 11/11/11/11 or the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year has allegedly prompted the closure of the pyramids in Egypt due to a planned mass Masonic ceremony, inspired a Hollywood horror movie, imaginatively entitled 11-11-11, which sees the opening of a portal to hell triggered by the date, and inspired TV psychic Uri Geller to prophesise it is the “pre-encoded trigger and key to the mysteries of the universe and beyond”.

Are you holding out for any mystical events today? Does Uri Geller’s prophecy fill you with hope that the secrets of the universe will unravel before our very eyes by the end of the day? Are you interested in the numerical significance? Or is 11/11/11 most significant as Armistice Day?

Yeah, whatever but 11/11/11 isn’t even the fucking date is it? The date written in numbers is 11/11/2011. So it’s not even a palindrome. If you start abbreviating stuff you’ll find all sorts of shit all over the place.

Uri Geller? Does anyone take this chump seriously? Is the key to the mysteries of the universe really embedded in an abbreviated date on a man made calender that was started on an arbitrary date that someone long ago says a man that supposedly lived even longer ago, and became a zombie, was born?

11/11/11 is a moment in time. Counted up to in the only way we know how. That’s it.

It’s not a privatisation because the NHS are still the landlords

November 10th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

The Guardian

A private company, listed on the stock market, has been given the right to deliver a full range of hospital services for the first time in the history of the NHS, reigniting a debate about the use of business in the health sector.

Circle Healthcare, a John Lewis-style partnership valued at around £120m, will manage the debt-laden Hinchingbrooke hospital in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, from February after the government signed off on a decade-long contract on Wednesday.

For fucks sake, people. Calm down. It’s not a privatisation. Can’t you people see that?

The takeover is not considered a full privatisation as the buildings will remain in public hands and the employees retain their pay and pension on existing terms.

It’s not a privatisation because the NHS will still own the building. *rolls eyes*.

Seriously though, how can anyone claim this is not a privatisation? The building remains in the hands of the NHS, so the NHS becomes the landlord. *Everything* else is down to Circle.

The current staff stay on their existing pay and pension terms, but what about new staff taken on? Will they be on contracts the same as NHS staff? What about when Circle decide they don’t want existing staff on NHS terms? They’ll find a way of getting people to re-apply for their existing jobs on different contracts.

Having said all that, as long as there are no links between Circle and the Tories… what? oh…

As Labour MP Jamie Reed tweeted last night:

Former Tory Health team member Mark Simmonds MP is also a paid strategic advisor with Circle. Coincidence?

And then added:

Two of Circle’s major shareholders are Tory Party donors. Coincidence?

In fact, emails released to the Guardian (by SpinWatch) in July this year showed Circle was part of a lobby group that took the NHS regulator to expensive gala dinners.

Privaatisation started quietly with a little contract here and a little outsourcing there, this though, is the real deal.

Kettled Chips

November 9th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

First there was…

and people are still going with it

Just Fuck the fuck off. It wasn’t funny the first time and it hasn’t been funny since.

When you live in a supposedly capitalist society you have to use that system to, ooh lets see? Earn money to buy food and heating and clothing, get to a place of employment (if you’re lucky), enjoy hobbies. You even have to use its’ ‘fruits’ to change the system itself.

A fucking bloke on a demo eating stuff made by a corporation doesn’t make him a hypocrite. He may not even be a fucking communist/anti-capitalist/socialist/whatever-the-fuck-you-think-he-is. He might think that capitalism would be ok if it worked a little different.

Not everyone can fuck off to a forest and live off the land. That doesn’t make them hypocrites and it doesn’t make that sort of quip funny or ironic or anything else. What it does do is makes you look a twat.

If you live within such an all-pervasive system as capitalism there is no choice but to use what it provides, and no shame in using the things it provides against it.

*The title of this post is shamelessly ripped from @robinboggs‘ reply to the above tweet.


November 9th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

The Royal British Legion

“The Legion never insists that the poppy be worn or insists that others allow it to be worn,” said Mr Simpkins. “We are grateful when people wear it as a sign of respect, but the decision must be a free one – after all, the poppy represents sacrifices made in the cause of our freedoms.”

So, wear one if you want to and don’t if you don’t. and lets stop all this fuss about disrespect and being anti-forces if someone doesn’t wear a poppy. It’s anybody but the Legion that see it that way.
h/t Bloggerheads

Daily Mail accepts Winterval is a myth

November 8th, 2011 § 3 comments § permalink

The Daily Mail has suprised everyone this morning by, steady yourself, admitting winterval is a myth

We stated in an article on 26 September that Christmas has been renamed in various places Winterval.

Winterval was the collective name for a season of public events, both religious and secular, which took place in Birmingham in 1997 and 1998.

We are happy to make clear that Winterval did not rename or replace Christmas.

Dave Cross a written a few words that doesn’t need me adding to it, except to ask, can we get the Mail to admit Christianity is a myth?

I must also add that Kevin Arscott and his paper The Winterval Myth had a big part to play in this.

Google in you language

November 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink


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