Category: "Politics"

Look out astronomers - black hole is a racist term

Just a quick post before I head off to Newport, over in Texas it seems the term black hole is now a racist remark, well to some people at least.

Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield (white) seems to of got himself in trouble for saying that the county's collections office behaves like an area of space with an escape velocity greater than 300,000 kilometres per second.

"It sounds like Central Collections has become a black hole"

Anybody with more than six brain cells knows what he means. Documents, records etc end up in Central Collections, and they disappear.

However some people with fewer than six brain cells don't know the astronomical phenomenon, nor how the term black hole is used in everyday conversation.

Commissioner John Wiley Price (black) shouted out in the meeting "excuse me" and said the language was "unacceptable", saying that the collection's office was a "white hole".

Obviously, not knowing what a black hole is means this guy doesn't have much chance of knowing what a white hole is. Using the term white hole wouldn't describe the situation at all Mr Price. Instead of losing documents, the office would be creating documents and spewing them everywhere in a big mess.

But hell. Why bother making any sense, or describing something when pretty much anything anybody says could be interpreted by the PC-brigade as being offensive, racist or whatever? You won't win anybody to your side by irritating them with such petty nonsense, if there's a need for a change in language it will happen slowly over time.

Not content to keep his ignorance to himself, Judge Thomas Jones (black) also waded into this demanding that Mayfield apologise for the "racially insensitive analogy".

Mayfield has refused to apologise. Good, there's far too much stupidity on the march these days, what with religious fundamentalism, and "alternative" (read: unproven) medicine to retreat on things like this.

"I prefer black furniture" isn't racist, "there's a black hole in Cygnus" isn't racist, "that star over there is a red giant", or "that one over there is a brown dwarf", isn't racist. "We should paint fire hydrants white" isn't racist, "that office is a black or white hole" isn't racist.

To borrow something from Gandhi: "A general belief seems to prevail in the colony that the Indians are little better, if at all, than the savages or natives of Africa. Even the children are taught to believe in that manner, with the result that the Indian is being dragged down to the position of a raw Kaffir." (Kaffir meaning people of southern Africa). That is a racist remark.

Can we keep things in perspective please.

Stop performing to the Daily Hate's (not a typo) readership

Enough playing to the Daily Mail's readership and their imaginary "middle England". If I hear another politician saying "hard working families who play by the rules" I am going to get annoyed.

Most of my work colleagues and myself aren't married nor have children. I guess that means we're all stuffed. Unemployed? Heck they don't work hard you must be stuffed. Pensioners, they may of worked hard all your life, but now you don't, I guess they're stuffed too.

What's wrong with saying working class? Remember them Gordon? The people who have to work for a living.

I got the NEC election ballot through my door today, with it a message from Gordon. Susan rightly dissects the language used in it.

Fairness means, yes, we will address poverty. But fairness also means we are always on the side of aspiration and ambition. (Read: the rich).

Over the coming months we are rolling out our Australian-style points-based system for immigration to make sure that only those who can contribute to Britain can come in. (In other words, if you are an asylum-seeker, poor, defenseless, financially vulnerable, forget it).

When is the Parliamentary Labour Party going to act?

Good question Grimmer, just when are the Parliamentary Labour Party going to act to stop the relentless march of the Labour Party to electoral oblivion in 2010?

So where did Gordon get it wrong?
1. Ensuring there was no contest for the leadership
2. Ensuring there was no-one in the cabinet from the left-of-centre
3. Inviting Tories like Digby Jones and Quentin Davies into his "big tent" and excluding the left-of-centre
4. Not facilitiating withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan
5. Abolishing voting at Labour Party Conference
6. Dog-whistle politics on immigration and border controls
7. Macho posturing on 42 days, nuclear power, civil liberties
8. Further triangulation to the right and more Blairism
9. Public sector pay
10. 10p tax fiasco

Right on Susan.

In the wake of the Counter-Terrorism Bill

Well it's been an interesting few days in the aftermath of the Counter-Terrorism Bill.

Here's the list of the Labour MPs who voted against the government; Diane Abbott, Richard Burden, Katy Clark, Harry Cohen, Frank Cook, Jeremy Corbyn, Jim Cousins, Andrew Dismore, Frank Dobson, David Drew, Paul Farrelly, Mark Fisher, Paul Flynn, Neil Gerrard, Ian Gibson, Roger Godsiff, John Grogan, Dai Havard, Kate Hoey, Kelvin Hopkins, Glenda Jackson, Lynne Jones, Peter Kilfoyle, Andrew Mackinlay, Bob Marshall-Andrews, John McDonnell Michael Meacher, Julie Morgan, Chris Mullin, Doug Naysmith, Gordon Prentice, Linda Riordan, Alan Simpson, Emily Thornberry, Bob Wareing, David Winnick and Mike Wood. Thanks again.

Jon Trickett, the parliamentary spokesman for Compass has been forced to stand down after Compass MPs caved into the government's demands. Compass members are undoubtedly more than a little annoyed at being betrayed by the likes of Trickett and Cruddas.

David Davis stunned everyone by not only resigning as the Shadow Home Secretary but also resigning his seat (Haltemprice and Howden), which has triggered a by-election. On which he will fight on a platform of civil liberties to try and bring about more public attention on the matter.

He's obviously come under assault from both Labour and Tory members, but its his decision in the end and it will bring the issue of our declining civil liberties into focus - at least for a while. Which is required. The Liberal Democrats have said they won't be standing against him.

It gets tricky for the Labour Party, how can we put up a candidate that supports 42-days detention? The political damage of that would be immense, Kevin Davis rightly points out that if we don't it'll look like we're running away, but that's better than the alternative.

According to Grimmer Up North though the Labour candidate there is against 42-days detention. So if he did decide to stand he would have the task of trying to break out of the single issue by-election, probably impossible.

However it has also just emerged that some Labour MPs have come out in support of David Davis. It'll be very interesting to see what sort of reaction this will provoke from the Labour Party machinery.

Counter-Terrorism Bill passes by nine votes

The government won by nine votes. 37 Labour MPs rebelled (thanks comrades), I'm sure many Labour Party members will be keen to see which lefties caved and voted with the government on this.

Hopefully the Lords will chuck it out - I never thought I'd hear myself say that.

John McDonnell:

Any attempt to present this as some sort of victory for the Government will ring absolutely hollow. There will be widespread consternation among our supporters in the country seeing a Labour Government prepared to use every tactic available in its determination to crush essential civil liberties, which have been won by the Labour movement over generations.

This is no way to run a Government. Securing votes by threats, bribes and personal pleading demeans the role of the Prime Minister. Backbench Labour MPs from all sides of the Party have looked on in disbelief at how the Government has mishandled this issue.

Now some trade unions are talking about cutting funding to Labour MPs who vote against trade union policies, hopefully some Labour Party members will start thinking about deselecting their MPs who are caving into the leadership's demands. We need more reliable socialists in the Parliamentary Labour Party, who don't throw their principles out the window the second Gordon phones them up.

42-day detention and our civil liberties in general

I originally wasn't going to blog about this, my views are already pretty well known (major assault on our civil liberties over the last decade), but something just forced my hand.

It was a blogger on LabourHome.

I genuinely thought before now the people who supported the government on this issue in this party just didn't care one way or the other, and so they'd go with their party "loyalties". I never expected anything this extreme.

He starts off praising Brown's performance on PMQ's today, and saying Cameron looked weak... Sigh, who cares. It's the policies that count, not how well people can show off on TV.

Cameron looked weak harking on about civil liberties; well guess what - we are at war with radical islamic extremism

At war with radical Islamic extremism? I suppose radical Islam and Islamic extremism are separate and this is some sort of new strain which combines them both and is even more deadly.

Whatever... I'm not fighting in this war, I've got other extremists to deal with, ones who could actually destroy our civil liberties, and give the police the power to detain people forever (read: make people dissapear). Yes, that's what he said:

if the police need more time to question; then they should be granted all the time in the world.

Over my cold dead body. 28 days is bad enough. Another two weeks is insane, people shouldn't be detained for more than 24 hours, maybe the courts should be allowed to extend that in serious cases, maybe for a week but what we're talking about now is completely off the scale.

Presumed terrorists should be afforded no benefit of the doubt

I remember a time when people were innocent until proven guilty.

This debate about 6 weeks is laughable. Imagine if the enemy facing their trial for the liquid explosives managed to go through with the plan - we would not be having this conversation.

Of course we would be having this conversation, unless you're so extreme you think they're going to kill all 60 million of us.

I thought this would settle down over time from the initial "9/11" attacks which sparked all of this, but I'm getting increasing concerned by things like this.

Just a few months ago we saw some teenager arrested for carrying a sign saying that Scientology is a cult.

Yes that's right, he was arrested for carrying a sign with words on it.

Scientology is a CULT. I'm right with you dude.

We increasingly need a written constitution guaranteeing our right to freedom of speech, too many times people are forced to be quiet due to laws against "offending" (now there's a law open to interpretation) people, laws against upsetting these people, or those people. What happened to a good, open and honest conversation? Our libel laws also need to be balanced so the burden of evidence is upon the claimant.

Brown's been trying to buy off the Labour backbenchers from voting against the government on the Counter-Terrorism Bill. It looks like it is working, I've heard the Compass group of MPs have caved in. John McDonnell has now boycotted the Compass conference in response (good on you John).

Hopefully this bill will be defeated. Those lefty MPs who vote with the government on this should be hanging their heads in shame.

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