Fuck You, I Won’t Do What You Tell Me

Published December 6, 2012 by Bellatrixa

So I was reading an article on League of Legends (LoL) and how it’s rumoured to now be more popular than World of Warcraft (WoW). The online count and player base are now higher, but there’s the obvious facts that 1. WoW requires a monthly subscription, 2. WoW is now 7 years old to LoL’s 3 years, and 3. LoL is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) and WoW is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG); two very different genres.

A lot of people I know are aware that I’m not too keen on either game; I dislike Blizzard as a company and the monthly subscription model and most people I’ve come into contact with who play LoL change as people after playing the game; they become a lot more confrontational and generally douchey. The attitude of LoL players isn’t unique to the game though; I have many memories of arrogant PvPers from Guild Wars too, something which severely held that aspect of the game back in later years as the PvP player base dwindled as people moved on to other games.

Online gaming can be a very daunting for a newbies. I’m of course not talking about Farmville and its clones, but what I consider to be ‘proper’ online games where you interact with large groups of players. While there are a lot of adults such as myself who grew up with games and still play them, gaming is still viewed, somewhat unfairly, as a child’s pastime. Personally speaking, I see no difference between watching a film and playing some Halo for 3 hours. If anything, I’m more likely to be immersed in a game than I am a film due to the level of interaction and how players are more in control of the story development, even in games with a linear story.

Poor sportsmanship is something that’s too common today in online gaming, whether it’s PvP, PvE or co-operative play. There’s a long history of it and over time it’s gotten worse. One famous example is:

While Leeroy was amusing as hell with what he did and said, it was one of those moments when someone decides to be an epic douche for whatever reason and end up spoiling the game for others. I still laugh at the video though and it’s certainly a world apart from the abuse that some people dish out daily in online games.

When I first started online gaming in 2007, I was very reluctant to party and compete with others. There was the worry that I would either let my team down or not be good enough. I know this is something that a lot of people still concern themselves with and generally speaking, the more established the game, the less they’re going to feel comfortable with playing with others. The worry is always there that you’re going to be cussed out for being called a noob and receive abuse. I actually got into PvP in Guild Wars whilst in a PvE guild. There were a few people who had PvP experience who wanted to mess around with the daily quests and earn rewards who didn’t mind taking less experienced players under their wing. Being a relatively quick learner in PvE roles, I decided that I could apply the same to PvP and would feel more comfortable doing so alongside people who I knew who were patient. The first thing I learned is that everyone makes mistakes, even the ‘pros’. I would often observe PvP matches too, to develop my playing as well.

I mentioned before LoL’s poor sportsmanship and I have heard the LoL community blasted a lot by players and critics alike so seeing a professional player was permanently banned for poor sportsmanship was incredibly positive. I’ve thought for some time that the standard of behaviour in online gaming has fallen dramatically over the years. Yes, there were always people who were absolute wankers to others, but now it seems as if every single damn person in competitive online gaming is suffering from the same problem. I’m well aware there are many children and teenagers playing online who think they can get away with terrible attitudes online. I’ve also met plenty of adults who are the same, sadly. Of course, it doesn’t just apply to gaming but the internet in general; gaming is just the one area where it’s really apparent. Seeing Riot take action against a professional level gamer sends a very positive message to the gaming community as a whole, especially with LoL’s recent spurt in popularity and the poor reputation of its player base. I was banned myself for 72 hours on Guild Wars for being abusive to another player in PvP. There’s generally trash talk involved to some degree in PvP as it is and I admit that day I was goaded into it and crossed a line along with another guild member. The person who reported us was heavily disliked in our alliance and had a serious grudge against us involving stuff that had gone on before I even joined the guild. Seeing our tags that day and us kicking her ass, well… I didn’t quibble with the decision and sat my 72 hours out doing other things. I was pretty ashamed of myself that I had risen to the bait. I made sure after that ban that I watched what I said, even when I had rank 10+ players baiting my entire team. It’s not worth getting banned because someone else is being a douche.

From what I could understand of IWillDominate’s actions, he was someone who had routinely flamed and bashed other players, thinking that because he was a professional level player that the rules didn’t apply to him and he could get away with his behaviour. The really interesting part is some of the reactions to his ban where other professional players think he shouldn’t have been punished because he had earned the right to do as he likes. Sadly this attitude of “I do what I want” is prevalent throughout online gaming. A lot of people enjoy the anonymity that comes with being behind a computer screen. The thing is, actions have consequences, even online and few people seem to be able to grasp this. The sad fact is, it’s not just the children. Adults who should know better and be aware of repercussions following their actions also show this behaviour, possibly forgetting that if they displayed the same attitude, it would cost them their job. As IWillDominate was a professional gamer, that’s essentially what has happened with his ban and Riot were well within their rights to take said action.

The Primary Role of the Government is to Protect Property From the Majority and So It Remains

Published December 3, 2012 by Bellatrixa

You know, it’s been quite an amusing December 3rd. First of all, it was International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which in England was particularly ironic considering  some new legislation especially for us with disabilities! No, it’s not the re-opening of workhouses, but it’s pretty close. From today in England, all of us who are on sickness benefit and deemed ‘fit to work’, will have to do so. For nothing. For as long as they feel like making us do it. If we don’t? We lose our money.

Now, I get some people haven’t worked in their lives. I’m not one of those people. Currently I’m having to claim Employment Support Allowance (ESA) as I’m long term sick, have no specified date when I will be fit to work again and wouldn’t be able to hold down a job. When ESA was brought in, the idea was to replace the old Incapacity Benefit (IB) which didn’t have reassessments and people just claimed for as long as their doctors would sign them off for. Obviously this wasn’t the most efficient of systems, hence the reformation and introduction of ESA which would work nicely if it worked properly. See, the problem with ESA is that the government contracted this French IT company called Atos to do the Work Capability Assessments (WCAs).

Something struck me as strange about this; why would you ignore the fact that we have a national health care system who could do these assessments and appoint an IT firm to do them? So, Atos basically pays “healthcare professionals” to conduct these WCAs. When you go to them at/around the 13 week period of your ESA claim, you’re not even guaranteed to be seeing someone who has an understanding of your conditions. They’re meant to have information from your GP and any hospital/medical reports. You are in turn expected to provide any details of medication and treatment. The WCA is divided into two sections: the interview and the physical. The interview is a series of questions about how your day to day routine is affected by your illness, the physical is meant to assess your ability to perform simple physical movements. As far as I can tell, the ESA50 form that you fill in prior to this is meant to dictate what happens in the medical itself.

In my personal case, I have both physical and mental health issues. I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) at 19 following 5 years of depression and self harm, soliosis (curvature of the spine) at 18 after 3 years of issues with my knees and back which I initially thought were due to the physical nature of the work I did and playing hockey, then borderline personality disorder (BPD) at 24 following further self harming, depression and suicide attempts as well as increasingly erratic behaviour. In my WCA, I was asked about how I had been coping with the wait for the medical, how I had gotten there and some questions about my daily routine. Now, as someone who has health issues that fluctuate (particularly the BPD), I wasn’t entirely sure what sort of response to give, so I spoke as if it was one of my worse days. When it came to the physical, I was having issues getting on and off the couch which was raised a fair distance above the ground and had no supports to help me stabilise myself, on top of the fact that as I was getting down, even though the woman doing my assessment saw I was having issues, she walked back over to the desk and didn’t bother helping. Apparently I’m far from the only person who has had this happen so courtesy is something also excluded from these assessments.

I’m currently waiting on the results of my WCA, so only time will tell whether they find me fit to work or not. The really dispiriting part is that people have been dying as a result of these inaccurate assessments. Last month, disabled rights movement Spartacus published The People’s Review of the Work Capability Assessment, which was a report put together by those who have been through the ESA system themselves or helped others through the process in a response to Professor Harrington’s third and final independent WCA review. An average of 73 people die each week as a result of the WCA process. In a first world country. Britain.

Today there was a 2 minute silence in remembrance for those who have died as a result of these despicable assessments. There has been increasing social media coverage of events and even celebrities speaking out against the effective genocide in my country. It’s funny because it also makes a mockery of the Second World War; you know, how Britain fought against the Nazis and has similar inhumane acts going on.

Groups like Spartacus, DPAC, UK Uncut and The Black Triangle Campaign have been doing sterling work across social media in drawing attention to and in supporting those who are experiencing distress and strife with the cuts from the government.

Although there have been a number of demonstrations (I’m going to a local one on Friday outside the Atos branch that I had my WCA at), one feels as if nothing’s changing. There are more and more people speaking out now about the persecution of the disabled, and yet there are no changes to anything and everything seems to be falling on deaf ears. I seriously worry how much more blood needs to be shed before something happens.

Culture, Alienation, Boredom and Despair

Published November 10, 2012 by Bellatrixa

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll be well aware that America had a presidential election recently. There were the normal debates, mud-slinging contests (I’d say Obama had the most thrown at him but that would come off as unintentionally racist), the usual ‘let’s blame the other party for everything that’s gone wrong’, but this time we had the addition of memes! The ones from 2008 were pretty lacklustre in all honesty but this year, people went all out. Considering some of the Republican candidate lines that came out (legitimate rape and binders full of women, anyone?), it’s not entirely surprising.
I also noticed that I took more of an interest this time around as well as my interest in politics has increased. It’s sort of like how vegetables get more palatable as you get older. Of course, it doesn’t happen to everyone and personally I still can’t stand parsnips. Despite your level of interest, it’s been an interesting event to observe online nonetheless.

There is a tendency, even in this day and age, even on a subconscious level, to judge and label people. Firstly there’s the visual; you see someone overweight and you assume it’s their own doing, not medical. Someone mentions their religion or sexuality and again there’s a small sticky label applied. It doesn’t necessarily imply prejudice, simply awareness of factors that shape their opinions and beliefs. Political views are the thing that rarely factor into discussion. One thing I have observed is that no matter who is in power, people will complain and that seems to be the only thing that unites everyone on a political level. This election, aided by social media, has made a lot of people painfully aware of each others political views and in some cases, changed perception of people as a result.
It is now very common to add people you barely know to your Facebook or Twitter but come political issues, one starts to question exactly how well someone knows someone or has in common with them. This election has been in some ways the equivalent of seeing your parents naked; somehow everything has changed and you can’t quite look at them the same again.
My personal Facebook has a lot of people added who I met through online gaming, and yet some of the views I’ve seen expressed have reminded me of this time I really liked this guy and found out he voted Tory. Completely killed how I felt about him. I think that was the first time I realised how strongly politics had actually affected me. During this election period, I saw some of the most insane things claimed on Facebook. I saw people who are fine with my bisexuality saying they didn’t agree with same-sex marriage. People who had always seemed totally open-minded coming out with covertly racist statements. The increasing involvement of religion was also disturbing. America had never come across as a country where religion dictated laws before, or maybe I only really got a good glimpse of this during the election campaigns. My hat was off for Joe Bidden though who said that even though he’s a Catholic, he believes that the state and church should be separate. After all, the country is meant to be welcoming to all, no? Surely there are those within the country who are not Christian as well? And what about the 2480204724 different branch-offs of Christianity where they all seem to believe different things? I have to say that the attempt to shoehorn in religious views into the running of a country is not something that I believe in myself; maybe because England is secular in that sense with the church and state being separate.
Another thing that shocked me was how little some people knew about affairs outside of their own country. I took an interest in the American elections because I was aware how the result would impact on the rest of the world. Somehow, this seemed to have passed a lot of Americans by. It was also interesting to see how many of those being vocal had actually heard of the policies of other parties and candidates. All to often I saw “liberal” and “leftie” thrown around as insults. “Commie” also featured a couple of times which gave me a good chuckle and left me suppressing the urge to call them fascists in return.

It wasn’t all about those who were pushing their views though. There was also a great amount of apathy towards who actually got voted in. I realised this is because of America’s very broken election process of “electoral colleges” which are meant to take into account the public (aka “popular”) vote but seem to have the power to ignore it completely. Now, I could understand this maybe a century or so ago when people were less educated, however it does seem somewhat of an insult now, as much as I love teasing my American friends by saying they can’t be trusted to vote on their own and someone has to pick their president for them. Having said that, it’s kind of given that if you vote in x person to congress, then you’re wanting that party to be in charge of the whole country. At least that’s how I’ve come to understand how the American political system works…
The problem is with how this apathy extends overseas though. Had the last General Election in my country had a higher turnout, I don’t believe we would be in the mess we are in now with a coalition government who couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery. Could I do a better job? For sure, but with the current people in charge I think a dried dog turd could do a better job considering we’re now heading towards a triple dip recession.

On both sides of the pond, I’ve noticed a general ignorance towards how politics in other countries do actually matter. There are many people in America who can’t understand why the rest of the world were concerned about who won the presidential elections and by the same token there were a lot of people in England who didn’t seem to realise why we should be paying attention to who’s voted in over there. Simple fact is that whoever rules America, pretty much rules the world. Bush always seemed to be in more for world domination over running his own country, and I had a nasty feeling that Romney would have done something similar. There’s also the fact that the US sets a huge precedence with its laws. Legalisation of cannabis in America would cause other countries to rethink their positions as well. This is another reason people are so keen for America to legalise gay marriage across the country; because there are still many countries where people who are gay are killed. I wish I was kidding. But the truth is that what America does usually shapes the world. Other countries do have influence, but not half as much as America does.

But, elections are over so it’s time to unpack the lolcats and get back to business, internet!

This Is Suicide Season

Published October 16, 2012 by Bellatrixa

 So, I think it’s obvious by now that this is going to be yet another Amanda Todd related post. Before you roll your eyes and close the tab, this isn’t going to be the usual kissing her ass article, nor a vicious attack.  Quite simply, I’m going to be looking at what actually happened.

So, we have a 15 year old girl who uploaded a video about being bullied online back in September. Last week she killed herself and the world is only now giving a shit. Or are they?

Some of you might remember earlier this year there was the whole Kony 2012 bullcrap. Ohnoes ebil man in afrika n we nid kil him cuz he steel childruns!!1! Now, I’m not saying that Joseph Kony is a pretty cool guy who steals children and doesn’t afraid of anything, but the fact is that most people who jumped on that bandwagon couldn’t point to Uganda on a map. They had absolutely 0 concern about the situation beforehand. “Oh but they didn’t know before! The campaign was all about awareness!” I hear you cry. Well, that’s all very well and good but if you asked those same people NOW who he was, most of them would give you a blank expression. The same will happen with Amanda Todd.

Now, I’m not saying it’s right for someone to be blackmailed to death. It’s not. However, there are people at fault here other than the guys who harassed her. Including herself. From what I can understand, she had been exposing herself on webcam to guys for quite some time. Multiple guys. She was supposedly close to her father, so why didn’t she tell him what was going on? Worried that he was going to flip out over the nudes? That means she knew she was wrong for flashing herself. Let’s not forget her age either. She was 15. The family supposedly moved several times. Did they never consider going to the police? Apparently the main blackmailer was contacting her through social networking sites. Why not stop using them? She slept with someone’s boyfriend while his girlfriend was on holiday then tried to kill herself when the girlfriend came after her. I’m sorry, but if you sleep with my bloke, I’ll kick your fucking ass. Again, unable to deal with the consequences of her own actions.

When I was 15, I wasn’t allowed free rein on a computer. Yeah sure, I had a mother who was too strict and it caused me to go out and do things that I shouldn’t. The thing is, if you’re going to do something, be prepared for the consequences. I had issues with self-harming, bulimia and depression when I was her age too. The main cause of those was my own family. I couldn’t run from that and didn’t know how. She had people she could confide in. I find it interesting how her family never turned around and thought “you know, if she doesn’t have access to these sites or a webcam, the problems will go away”. What the fuck was a 15 year old doing with a webcam anyway? I mean seriously. If you’re going to allow your daughter the means to be a whore, expect there to be repercussions. If you know she’s being blackmailed, do something about it more than just moving a couple of times. For those curious, here’s a transcript of her video.

From that, you can see she was actually 12 when she started flashing guys on cam and showed that guy her breasts. 12 years old. Last time I saw my half-sister she was 12. She had absolutely no interest in guys. At 12, we thought that letting a guy touch us clothed was a big deal. Heck, kissing a guy properly was a big deal. She goes on to say that she got into drugs and alcohol. And again, where were her parents in all of this? Oh right, they were letting the internet babysit their daughter.

The latest revelation is that some members of Anonymous have released the details of the guy who harassed her. Now, Amanda’s mother claims that the police were unable to trace the guy who was stalking her. He was apparently messaging her through Facebook. Now, do PLEASE explain to me how the police and Facebook weren’t able to find this guy over a period of a couple of years and yet Anonymous have in a week? No really, I would love to know the answer to that. Apparently her mother was quite computer savvy too. So why did she allow her 12  year old child a webcam? Why did she allow her child unsupervised computer access? Why did she not set up parental controls to block video chat sites/programs? Why did she not talk to Amanda about the possible dangers of what could happen online from talking to strangers? In a lovely little article by a Canadian paper, I spotted the following quote:

Amanda’s moment of indiscretion was not unusual for someone her age: Sexting and using webcams to share sexual photos is a growing trend among children, some so young they are still in grade school.

Now, not wanting to be picky, but many things aren’t unusual. Paedophilia, incest, beastiality… does that make them legal? Does it make them right? Hell, if it comes down to it, kids being bullied isn’t unusual and yet we are being told it’s not right. Why are people trying to justify and glorify what she did? Yes, being bullied is awful but I can think of many cases where the kids weren’t bringing anything upon themselves. What was more disgusting was the comment by Carol Todd later in the article:

But Amanda’s victimization at the hands of the stalker led Carol to learn more about the horrifying world of child pornography, where some victims don’t even know their images are being shown on porn sites.

“You’ll see pornography and the girls are so young,” she said.

“I don’t know if the girls are doing this for kicks, if their parents are monitoring it or if they even know about it.

Really now, Mrs. Todd? Are you admitting some responsibility for your poor parenting there? One would hope so otherwise you’re being a bit of a hypocrite, no? How about the fact that you and Amanda’s father continued to allow a girl with mental health issues access to the causes of them? Could have stopped her having a Facebook. Could have stopped her having access to a webcam. Could have imposed curfews or kept a closer eye on what she was getting up to so she didn’t get into drink and drugs in an abusive way. Yeah, I was a teen who did things she shouldn’t have behind her parents’ backs, but I most certainly would have had those picked up on had I had addiction issues. I know as soon as my mother noticed that I was trying to avoid eating with the family or spending time in the bathroom after meals, she had me down the doctors and asking them to do something about my eating disorder. She never knew the full extent nor did I admit to it, but as abusive as she was, she was still trying to do something as a parent, even if it was to save her own back. When I first attempted suicide (also at 15, I might add), my social activities were restricted: online and offline. When my mother found out I was sending some rather risqué messages to boys online, I had my access to the internet revoked. Internet access is not a necessity for a child, even in this day and age. The means to monitor that are much better 12 years on as well, as is the support for those who have issues with bullying, suicidal ideation and self-harm. The parents were aware she had already tried to commit suicide once… They should have been aware of her Youtube channel and the video in particular.

Now, without wanting to sound too much like I’m attacking her and her parents, there’s also the fact that she was being bullied in school… What exactly were the schools doing about this? Scratching their asses? What happened to suspensions and expulsions for extreme bullying? That is, unless the extent of the bullying was blown up out of proportion and it was a case of a shove here and a name there. Sad to say, but everyone will experience some of that at some point in their lives. What do you do? Show you won’t put up with it. You become a stronger person. Why care what the hell those people think anyway? If you can’t take those insults, you toughen up. If you can’t do that on your own, you have help doing it. Where the fuck was the support on that? Especially following previous suicide attempts. Why were the schools not made aware of her mental health issues? If they were, why were they not doing more to prevent what was going on? Why didn’t Facebook step in as some of the bullying was taking place on their site?

The causes of her suicide are many and the responsibility of the same. It’s just sickening to see people making her out to be some angelic martyr who did nothing wrong. Reminds me somewhat of Madeline McCann and how people tried to protect the parents even though they had displayed clear neglect of their daughter.

Oh well, in a couple of weeks most people won’t remember who the hell she was anyway. That’s the really tragic thing. No one will learn anything from this aside from maybe a few people being more mindful of their children’s activities. But in all honesty, most of the reactions to this girl’s suicide have simply made me lose more faith in humanity.

Guns Don’t Kill People, Rappers Do

Published July 24, 2012 by Bellatrixa

Ok so, unless you’ve been living under a rock or something, you’ll have heard about the dude who went nuts in a cinema and shot a load of people during the premiere of the latest Batman film.

If not, here we go.

I’m not saying this wasn’t a tragic event, however people need to get a fucking sense of perspective. Every day there’s more than 12 people killed in wars. All this tragedy has done is show me exactly how stupid people are. Some of the ones staunchly supporting looser gun laws and the use of guns, blaming video games and films for this behaviour, the ones going on about tragic loss of life… They are the ones who make this sort of thing possible.

If you allow people to carry arms, why would you be shocked when this sort of thing happens? Surely if you didn’t want these sort of things to happen, you wouldn’t allow people to have the potential for it to happen at any time.

In England we don’t have guns widely available. You can safely leave your house in most parts of the country knowing you won’t be shot at. I have to say that one of the things that concerns me about Max is knowing he lives in a state full of gun nuts in a country full of them.

Then this morning I saw something from the gunman’s mother saying she’ll stand by her son. Look woman, your son, mental health issues or not, went psycho on a cinema full of people. I’m familiar with mental health and I can tell you now that mental health aside, he wanted to do that. It wasn’t a case of what he’d seen on TV the night before making him do it, it wasn’t the voices in the head or the promises of virgins in the afterlife. He had the desire to fill a cinema full of bullets and see how many people he could take out at the time. Maybe it’s your unwillingness to believe that which is making you take the foolish stance of “standing by him”. It’s one thing to stand by your kids when they’re innocent, but when the blood is pretty much dripping off their hands? Seriously?

And of course, once again we’re made to all feel sorry for America because this is the most traumatic thing ever to happen to their country a la 9/11. No really, people are going on about national grief etc. Again, some perspective. Look at how many people are dying in a war over oil. Do you see people in national grief about those troops? You’re saying that the thing that happened in the cinema was a tragedy? Do you not think the deaths of thousands of young people in a war over money isn’t senseless? When people sign up to the armed forces, they’re knowing what they’re getting into, but they don’t choose who they fight. While we’re on about how senseless this war is, why don’t we look at how much was still being pumped into the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan when there was allegedly a global recession?

The next time I hear anyone going on about the “tragedies” in America, I will be firmly pointing them at the shit they did to set themselves up for it. Seriously, if the world was Facebook, America would be that fucking attention-seeking emo douchebag.

We Still Believe…

Published June 27, 2012 by Bellatrixa

… But I don’t get why. Britain is renowned for certain things: tea, the Queen, fish & chips and football. Or “soccer” to Americans. Personally I’ve always considered “soccer” to be the proper football as we actually use our feet to manipulate the ball. Americans use the term for their sport which I shall henceforth call “handegg”. Why? The ball is egg shaped and they pass it with their hands more than their feet. “Handegg” seems much more fitting in my opinion.

In any case, I personally have never had much interest in football since I was a kid. Only reason I had much if any interest then was because growing up in Norwich, our football team was really the only local point of interest that we had to talk about and the only thing of any entertainment for a long time. As I got older, the city evolved and as I matured, I realised there are countless other things that I would like to do for 90 minutes instead of watching 22 men kick a ball around a field, as well as many more interesting uses for said field. I discovered a few of those in my teenage years in my home city as it happens ;D

I can’t say that England’s football prowess has been particularly inspiring over my lifetime.
The best world cup performance was 4th place in 1990 along with 3 quarter finals, UEFA cup was semi-final in 1996 with 2 quarter finals. When you think about it, we borrow so many players from other countries for our league teams that it’s not really surprising. The “glory days” were short-lived and a long time ago. I don’t understand why people keep hyping themselves up for every huge tournament and expecting some stellar performance and for England to miraculously win. Given the recent Diamond Jubilee, the olympics and the Royal Wedding last year, you’d think there’d been plenty of opportunities for England to show how much it loves itself, no? I guess national pride linked to sports is a way to unify those who are divided about the need for a monarchy, however the patriotism that’s briefly inspired by football usually ends up in rioting when we lose.

I mean seriously
what
the
fuck?

I recall when England was kicked out of Euro 2004. I actually worked in Croydon at the time. I had the day off work (non-football related, just happened to have that day off and mocked my colleagues for their having to work). Steve didn’t and I recall him texting me while at work freaking out because of the rioting that was going on. He said that he was having a smoke when it all kicked off and heard the shouting and smashing, got told by security to lock up and get inside. What resulted was the destruction of property by drunk, angry football fans who were pissed that France had beaten England. Nandos was pretty much totalled being a Portuguese based chain and Euro 2004 being hosted in Portugal. On the one hand I’m impressed they made the connection and on the other, not shocked that alcohol made this seem like a valid reason to smash the windows of a restaurant. The next day when I saw the destruction that had been left in the wake of the result, I realised that football really was more stupid than I had already grown to think.

We’ve become a laughingstock overseas because of hooliganism. What makes me amused the most is that people who get obsessed with football forget that at the end of the day, IT’S A GAME. Football is NOT srs bsns. The world won’t change because of a team losing in a sport involving a ball being kicked around a field for an hour and a half. I can understand the interest in countries hosting the damned thing because of revenue generated from tourism and the like, but in all honesty, would you want to go to the world cup if it meant that there was a chance you’d die while you were there? How about Iraq bids to host the next one? After all, there was already football in war zones about 100 years ago now. The thing is, something that brought peace 98 years ago is now something that causes so much conflict. It’s been likened to religion and war. We have enough unnecessary wars, why are we making more?

Life Sold Cheaply Forever, Ever, Ever…

Published May 4, 2012 by Bellatrixa

I’m actually disappointed in myself. Had been tied up in personal stuff that I actually forgot to vote :/ Thankfully it was the local council elections and not a general election but still…

I’ve always tried to vote at every opportunity. Not just out of respect for the Suffragette movement who fought for my gender’s right to vote, not just because I like voicing my opinion (especially in ways that matter), but because I genuinely believe that if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain about the way the country’s being run. Even though I missed out on voting this time, I still voted at the last general election so in my eyes, it’s still all good 😛

Now, for those who are not British, you’re probably in the dark as to what these elections are that I’ve just mentioned and why they were important.

Well see, in England we have a reasonably simple parliamentary system.

Elections:

General Election – This is the one where we vote for the candidate that we want to represent our constituency in the Houses of Parliament. The more constituencies that are won by a party, the more seats they have in the House of Commons and the more control they have over the country.

Local Election – These are the ones where we vote for who we want to look after our local services. As London is a very large city, it’s split into 14 different sections who vote not only for their local candidates for the London Assembly, but also for the Mayor of London.

All elections use the “first-past-the-post” system where whoever gets the most votes, wins. However, in general elections the party with the most votes has to hold a clear majority or the country has what is known as a “hung parliament”. Sadly this has nothing to do with the politicians’ genitalia…

Local elections are held at least every 4 years. Different local authorities hold them at different times due to them all being run differently. In this case, general elections were in 2010, local in 2012. For Americans, you can compare this local election to a mid-term and it’s a pretty good indication as to how the country feels about the current government. This year I think it’s pretty safe to say that most of the country are completely cunted off by the current government and their incompetencies.

At the current time of writing this post, 143 out of 181 councils have declared their results. Scotland began counting their votes this morning.

So far the results are as following:

Labour – currently 66 councils, gain of 28

Conservatives (a.k.a. Tories) – currently 36 councils, loss of 12

Liberal Democrats – currently 6 councils, loss of 1

No overall control – currently 33 councils, loss of 12.

Now, for those who aren’t aware, the current UK government is made up of a coalition between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives. It was joked by some that we had Con-Demned ourselves in the 2010 General Election and 2 years on that seemed to be not so much of a joke but a harsh reality.

See, the problem is that younger people in England who had the right to vote in 2010 had known pretty much nothing but a Labour government, thought that things were pretty crappy with the economy and it’s true that at the time Labour didn’t have a clear strategy. They did come up with one which was a slow but steady growth to the economy, Conservatives and Lib Dems criticised them for not doing enough and called their plans crap. People listened to them and had lost faith in Labour after Tony Blair stepped down, leaving the party without a strong and charismatic leader.

The problems for Labour on top of that included going against public opinion on things such as the “war on terror”. Most people saw it quite simply as we didn’t want to go to war and yet the government decided that we would anyway. Of course, this was when George Bush was in office and a reason that a lot of us Brits take an interest in American politics: we like to see what dumbass you’re going to vote in next and if he’s going to be a complete and utter fucking moron like Gee Dubya Bush was. Believe it or not, we’re quite a peaceable folk on our little rock. We don’t much appreciate being dragged into conflicts unless it’s necessary. The problem was that Bush was a bully. “You’re with us or against us” and I don’t doubt that part of the reason that the UK sided with America was so that the crazy bastard you had in office didn’t turn the nukes on us. It’s easier to go along with that than start World War 3, I guess. However, these actions left blue blood on the hands on the red hands of Labour and a lot of people lost faith in the party, moving onto other candidates such as the Greens and Lib Dems who promoted themselves as being true left-wing as opposed to Labour.

The Conservatives had last been in power in the 80s and early 90s. I remembered as a child the stories on the news about how the formerly glorious Conservative regime was falling to pieces. Maggie Thatcher lost some of her steam in her later years in office and her successor, John Major, was less useful than a chocolate kettle. Back then, they left office with our public transport and utilities privatised instead of being run by the state. The result since then has been that train fares have gone up extortionately with even worse service than before, buses have gone the same too, with fares rising faster than inflation. Gas and electric companies have hopped on that bandwagon as well. The Tories claimed this would be in our best interests as it would provide wider consumer choice and lower prices. It didn’t. All it has done is change the basic amenities into another competitive market where companies try to squeeze as much money as possible from people. One or two private companies dominate the market and others simply can’t compete aggressively enough.
The Conservatives also hit the self-destruct button by closing the mines, completely destroying Britain’s mining industry. This forced us to go to other countries for exports. Quite simply, they damaged the country in a lot of ways before we kicked them out of office and left Labour with a lot on its plate to deal with.

The Lib Dems? Well, they had originally considered themselves to be the “neutral” party. They claimed their views and stances had shifted more and more to the left as Labour seemed to move more and more to the right. They had never had enough support to gain a large hold but a lot of people claimed they would vote Lib Dem if there was a chance they’d get in and saw them as the solution to the problems created by the other two parties. With Labour losing support, the Lib Dems seized on this chance and decided to try pushing the point that if enough people voted for them, they could get into government and make a difference.
When it came to the 2010 general election and a hung parliament, a coalition needed to be formed. That’s a government made up of 2 parties to govern the nation and negotiate between them. A Labour/Conservative coalition was completely out of the question. A Lib Dem/Labour coalition looked like it was going to happen, before Nick Clegg’s medication wore off and in a fit of insanity, he sided his party with the Conservatives and formed the current coalition government. The country was pretty divided about this.
Some thought that the Conservatives would do a better job than Labour and that Nick Clegg had sided with the right guys. A lot were disappointed with Clegg and lost faith in his party. A supposedly left wing party siding with a clearly right wing? What was this they didn’t even. I know I certainly didn’t even.

But hey, the Tories aren’t all THAT bad, right guize? Well, clearly they are judging from the Lib Dem losses in this election and the opinion polls where former Lib Dem supporters are speaking out about how Clegg has betrayed his party’s principles and policies with his decisions. It’s certainly true that some of the decisions that the Lib Dems have been involved in are distinctly things that they were against in their manifesto. Granted that it’s a given that all politicians are lying parasitic bastards. That’s a given truth the world over. What people do is try to vote in the least hypocritical and the least dishonest. You can maintain faith in a party that goes back on a couple of things if they follow through with some of the stuff that they promised. That was a reason that Labour was voted in again. Because they did actually stand by their word and improve things in a lot of ways. The ConDems so far? They’re trying to privatise our health care system. Yes, one thing that countries the world over admire and respect our country for. They will be cutting disability benefits. They have made thousands of disabled people redundant by axing jobs and yet somehow expect them to compete on an equal level with the current

The results thus far of the country’s elections were charmingly summed up in this Facebook comment:

Latest election results has Labour running 49 councils, the Tories running 27 & the Lib Dems running a bric-a-brac shop in Taunton

I’ve said before that we, the British people, were responsible for getting these idiots in office. The results seen thus far make me think we as a country have started to realise that ourselves and want change. Thank you for restoring some of my faith in this country 🙂

P.S. If you’re interested in the results:

Currently 127/128 for England (Scotland and Wales are separate areas you know ;P)

Labour 61
Conservatives 41
Lib Dems 6