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Saturday 19 August 2006

Alternative Manchester Pride

If you’re tired of the commercialisation of our Pride event in Manchester, check out this.

‘An alternative queer carnival running counter current to the main pride parade, happening in Manchester on the 26th of August (the bank holiday weekend)- needs you! We are recruiting an army of old dears in twin sets and on soap boxes. Our aim: to poke the gay conscience with our knitting needles… we object to gay ghettoisation, the selling off of our pride to corporate sponsorship and the absence of any awareness raising about gay rights and gay activism history as the source of our pride.’

And from 1-3 September 2006:

Get bent! is our answer to the commercialism of the mainstream pride event. in response to our pride being sold back to us by consumerism we are putting on a weekend of free events, food and fun.’


Filed under: LGBT,Manchester,Politics — GS @ 11:40 pm
Thursday 29 June 2006

Tony Blair’s assault on civil liberties

The Independent newspaper has an article (reprinted from Vanity Fair) about the way Tony Blair has eroded civil liberties and freedom in Britain and the scary way in which many people seem compliant and almost resigned to their fate.

Certainly there’s a lack of interest in politics these days. Partly because politicians and the media have managed to make the subject so boring. Sometimes it seems like one group of public schoolboys (the journalists) having a matey jousting match with another group of public schoolboys (the politicians).

Television — the most powerful medium we have, and the one from which most people get their information, has been dumbed down. The awkward programmes — World In Action, This Week, Panorama — have gone or been emasculated. Scare stories about paedophiles, terror threats and health risks are used to distract the public from what the Government is doing in the background.

Tony Blair has created a society where British people work such long hours that many have neither the time nor appetite for serious subjects in the few hours they have to themselves. They seek escapism.

On the subject of ID cards, Neil Tennant of the PetShopBoys is quoted in the article as saying: ‘my specific fear is that we are going to create a society where a policeman stops me on the way to Waitrose’.

Already I see that attitude developing amongst the police. Most recently I noticed it when we went to the Manchester Passion event on Good Friday. We asked a policeman for directions to the street from where the parade was starting off and I happened to mention that I was there to shoot some video. He replied that he had ‘no objection’ to me filming.

I wasn’t asking for his permission to film. This was on a public street at an event that was intended for the public. But, apparently, he felt it was in his power to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to me using my camcorder.

Shooting pictures at the Carribean Carnival last year, I was asked by one policeman where I was from.

Instead of assuming that most people are at an event for perfectly innocent reasons, now there always seems to be a suspicion that you are up to something.

I’ve been out on the streets shooting photographs and video for twenty-five years and this is something that never used to happen. It makes me feel uncomfortable. I can see the day coming when they will expect to review your videotape or look at the photos on your memory card.

Quality of life for ordinary law-abiding people is being eroded because there is a one-in-a-million chance that the Police may catch someone who is up to no good.

This is sneaking up on us. We are being ‘groomed’ ready for a society where we will be tracked and logged twenty-four hours a day and any variation from the home-to-work-to-supermarket-to-home routine will prompt questions and a request to prove who we are, what we are doing and why.

Like Neil Tennant I’ll consider leaving Britain if ID cards are introduced.

PS. I can’t believe I’m quoting one of the Pet Shop Boys. How gay is that? ;-)


Filed under: Politics — GS @ 3:46 am
Monday 1 May 2006

Voters dislike adulterous MPs. Gay MPs don’t bother them

On BBC News 24 tonight, Janet Daly (a contributor to the Daily Telegraph) referred to research which she says has been carried out by the Conservative Party. It found that voters have a strong dislike of married Members of Parliament who have affairs and they don’t really mind MPs who are gay.

She said this showed that the Conservative Party got it wrong in the past because it was homophobic and many Tory MPs were adulterers.

I would say that ignores the fact that it’s only in very recent years that we’ve seen a big change in public attitudes towards gay men and women. Unfortunately, the Tories probably were fairly in tune with what many people thought up until 5-10 years ago.

Which reminds me of an occasion back in the early 1980’s during an election. A car drove past our house in Victoria Park. It was promoting the local Conservative candidate. ‘Public money given to gays and lesbians — we’ll show them,’ shouted a voice through a megaphone. A reference to the labour-controlled city council’s support for us back in those days.

I was so incensed that I telephoned the local Conservative party headquarters. I told the rather-startled woman who answered (who had probably never talked to anyone gay before — shock/horror!) that this sort of campaigning just whipped up hatred towards gay men and women. I also pointed out that my boyfriend was a Conservative voter and that quite a lot of gay men were. So the Tories were shooting themselves in the foot with this hate-campaigning.

Unfortunately for the Conservatives, they spent almost another 20 years attacking the gay community, single parents, asylum seekers and minorities, before the message finally hit home. They realised that a large number of us in Britain have family or friends who are gay, black, a single parent… And we don’t like those people being victimised.

Strangely enough, I submitted these comments as feedback on the party website shortly before Theresa May made her famous comment at the 2002 conference about the Conservatives being perceived as the ‘nasty party‘. Goodness — did I help to rehabilitate the Tory party?

Now I think it’s rather wonderful that all our main political parties accept us and recognise gay rights. Especially when I look at the way the gay community is struggling in other countries such as the United States. Now I can even consider voting Conservative (though don’t get your hopes up David Cameron).

Anyway, to get back to the original subject, it’s easy to see why the public dislikes adultery. As it involves dishonesty and a partner being hurt.


Filed under: Politics — GS @ 1:37 am
Friday 28 April 2006

So far Iraq has cost $1000 for every person in the USA

“The Iraq war has already cost the United States $320bn (£180bn), according to an authoritative new report, and even if a troop withdrawal begins this year, the conflict is set to be more expensive in real terms than the Vietnam War, a generation ago…

Iraq will have consumed $101bn in fiscal 2006 alone, almost double the $51bn of 2003…

Even if everything goes relatively smoothly, costs until a phase-out is complete could top $370bn.”

The Independent

Yes, 320 thousand million Dollars so far… Slightly more than one thousand Dollars for every person in the USA.

All for what exactly?

And even more staggering…

‘According to the Treasury Department, the forty-two presidents who held office between 1789 and 2000 borrowed a combined total of $1.01 trillion from foreign governments and financial institutions. But between 2001 and 2005 alone, the Bush White House borrowed $1.05 trillion, more than all of the previous presidencies combined.’

Rolling Stone magazine


Filed under: Politics — GS @ 12:48 am
Wednesday 26 April 2006

The President who cried wolf

Jonathan Freedland of The Guardian says that hyping up the phantom threat from Iraq and invading that country has left Bush and Blair exposed and unable to act now that a ‘real menace’ has come along in the form of Iran…

The problem is: Iran does pose a threat in every way Iraq did not.


Filed under: Politics — GS @ 10:51 pm

Fireworks on the top of Beetham Tower, but does Manchester really need more city centre apartments for the rich? (VIDEO)

Fireworks from the top of Beetham Tower, Manchester, 26 April 2006

At 9.15pm tonight fireworks erupted from the top of Beetham Tower in Manchester, making it look like an over-sized roman candle firework. A topping out ceremony was taking place, marking the completion of the highest point.

The Tower stands 171m (561ft) and 47 storeys tall, making it the highest residential development in Europe. The first 23 floors will house a four-star Hilton hotel and apartments will fill the upper half.

Some people may wonder if Manchester really needs more apartments for the rich. When so many ordinary people in Britain are absolutely desperate for affordable housing and a large number of relatively well-paid workers are now excluded from ever owning a property of any kind due to high prices.

PFI

At the same time, Manchester City Council is busy trying to force various schemes onto residents of its council (public) housing, some of which is in the city centre. The aim being to pretty much wipe its hands of public housing.

Tenants are being denied a vote on whether housing should be transferred to a PFI (Private Finance Initiative) of the kind that is currently causing disaster in the National Health Service, an Arms Length Management scheme or whether it should remain in Council control.

In other parts of the country, residents have made it clear they want to remain in Council control. Which is something that Tony Blair and his New Labour cronies at Manchester City Council don’t want.

Tony doesn’t like it when people disagree with him and, if residents won’t be sensible and vote the way he wants, the answer is simple… Don’t let them vote at all and leave the decision to people who ‘know better’. In other words, those feeble-minded Labour councillors who have compromised their left-wing principles so much in recent years…

So, the original proposals to give residents a vote on the matter in Manchester are quietly being forgotten about. Instead, local Labour councillors will decide ‘what’s best’.


Filed under: Buildings,Manchester,Politics,With video — GS @ 9:44 pm
Thursday 13 April 2006

green.tv

green.tv is the first broadband TV channel dedicated to environmental issues. It launched at the beginning of April with the backing of the United Nations Environment Programme.

The site had 250,000 hits in the first week of being online.


Filed under: Environment,Politics,Science — GS @ 7:13 am
 
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