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Re: “The Mandatory Tweets of the Left”

There’s an article on The Telegraph’s website named “The Mandatory Tweets of the Left: a user’s guide“. It’s a wry look at left-wing Twitter users and the fact they they always seem to mention the phenomenon of white girls jumping in photos on A Level results day. This is such a recognised thing now that even The Telegraph themselves are commenting it’s ubiquitousness in that link.

The points they make poke fun at many people on Twitter who do a lot of what they say – there really are people who are quite like that. My point is, though, that it’s a bit rich to poke fun at well-meaning people.

It is generally the case in my experience that left-wing leaning people are nicer, more tolerant and more socially minded that those with right-wing inclinations. People with right-wing thoughts seem to focus more on the perceived negative impacts of social groups, nationalities or individuals.

I follow a member of my extended family on Twitter and the stuff they retweet is often hateful and negative propaganda from parties on the margins of the political spectrum. It’s not nice. However, even some of this can be looked at in more than one way.

For example, this was also tweeted:

I think that’s an interesting and potentially good thing. Of course, it was re-tweeted with the opposite thought. Some were positive, some negative. And this is my point.

It may suit The Telegraph to poke fun at people who are tolerant and socially aware but it’s probably a little unwarranted.

Perhaps those on the left just have more of an optimistic attitude.

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Only in America…

Only in America could a man challenge the idea that everyone is free to carry a handgun and be castigated for it.

Bob Costas, a famed US sports presenter, was speaking following the tragic case of KC Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher who shot and killed his girlfriend then himself before the Chiefs’ game on Saturday.

Now, do I believe that we need more comprehensive and more sensible gun control legislation? Yes I do. That doesn’t mean repeal the second amendment. That doesn’t mean a prohibition on someone having a gun to protect their home and their family. It means sensible and more comprehensive gun control legislation. But even if you had that, you would still have the problem of what Jason Whitlock wrote about, and what I agree with. And that is a gun culture in this country.

Jason Whitlock, referred to, had previously said:

Our current gun culture simply ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy.

I’m not sure that it should be controversial to state that gun control should be “more sensible”. If he said that it should be less sensible, that’s stupid, but more sensible? What’s the problem? The problem is enshrined into US law. The 2nd amendment to the constitution of the United States includes the following:

the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Patriots, republicans, people who like the status quo and idiots are all agreed that guns should be free to be carried around.

Sensible folk will agree with this from Bob Costas, instead:

Give me one example of an athlete – I know it’s happened in society – but give me one example of a professional athlete who by virtue of his having a gun, took a dangerous situation and turned it around for the better. I can’t think of a single one. But sadly, I can think of dozens where by virtue of having a gun, a professional athlete wound up in a tragic situation.

The ready, easy availability of guns makes mayhem easier. If somebody points out that the country has a problem with nutrition and obesity, that doesn’t mean they’re going to ban fast food. But they are making you aware of some of the dangers and hoping to moderate peoples’ behavior. And if nothing else, even if some people disagree with me or misinterpret what I said, if it started a conversation then I think that’s a good thing.

Leveson: Police given “lavish” hospitality

Before I get onto my main point, let me outline a few things and give some examples: I’ve worked as a web designer for a company that supplies promotional products and clothing for the past 5 years. In that time some of the laws that govern this kind of thing have changed.

When I started work there in 2007, we had a merchandise scheme set up by a pharmaceutical company to provide pens, desk tidies etc to doctors surgeries. There was a law in place stating that no item given away to a medical professional could be perceived to be above the value of £6. For example, a nice metal pen that was £3 at cost price but could reasonably sell at a retail value of £10 was not allowed to be given away. The rules changed further a couple of years ago when all giveaways to doctors was forbidden. Fair enough in my view; doctors shouldn’t be persuaded to prescribe certain drugs just because they’re made by a company that gives them free stuff.

Another recent change is the introduction of the Bribery Act 2010. For example, we sometimes have offers that give away football tickets or technology products such as iPhones to customers who bought a certain amount of a particular product. We used to be able to leave these off of the invoice and deliver the giveaway to a different address than the order. That cannot be done now.

For these reasons, when I was reading the findings of the Leveson Inquiry just now, one thing jumped out at me:

Hospitality police received from media, lavish restaurant meals and champagne, did not enhance the Met’s reputation. [ref]

So a small company isn’t allowed to give an iPhone to a customer as part of an order but chief police officers are allowed to accept lavish hospitality. I’m assuming that, like the company I work for, this wasn’t given without something in return. In our case it’s perhaps an order for 500 USB drives. For the newspapers…? Can we see where the media and police went wrong here?!!!?

Unbelievable.

I’m currently flicking through reports as time allows so I expect I’ll moan about something else soon enough but I just couldn’t wait to talk about this one.

Leveson Inquiry: This is what should happen

…in my view(!)

It’s been summed up quite nicely by Graham Foulkes, whose son David was killed in the 7/7 attacks. Although not confirmed, it is believed that he was a victim of phone hacking after being told by police that Glenn Mulcaire had a file full of his details:

What mustn’t happen, under any circumstances, is for parliament and government to start interfering and passing laws to regulate the press and the media in any shape or form. A free press and a free media is a cornerstone of democracy and we should not allow the government to interfere.

I’m hoping that Leveson comes up with a process which will restore public confidence in the media by forcing the media to behave themselves. [ref]

In a similar vein to my “don’t be a dick and stay out of prison” post a little while ago, the newspaper industry could have avoided all this by showing some common decency and empathy towards those who are suffering with personal tragedies and by simply not invading people’s privacy.

For me, the only answer is a truly independent regulator, not influenced by either the press or the government. Quite who should be a part of this, I don’t know. I’d never heard of Lord Leveson before this inquiry so I’m sure there’ll be someone I’ve never heard of perfect for this job.

Lets hope whatever happens today puts a stop to needlessly intrusive journalism, though I’m not sure that illegally listening to other people’s voicemails qualifies as journalism.