Friday, October 30, 2009

The coppers wont talk

I have been trying to speak to a representative of London's Merton Borough Police today.

My efforts have been thwarted at every turn.

First, I called the main switchboard and asked for Merton Borough's press officer.

I was immediately put through to an answer phone with the helpful message:

"This is Officer Fictitious' phone, please do not leave a message on this answer machine, my new number is 00000."

I don't think it really matters, for sake of this blog, what the real names and numbers are but the message is pretty much word for word.

So I called the new number and got a message saying 'this number is no longer in use'. what?

I called the switchboard back, explained, and they put me through to the same answer phone again...and again.

I tried asking for different people but, as soon as I said press or journalist, the big red button was pushed and my call was sucked into the telecommunications equivalent of the basement at the bottom of the dark stairs, where only cobwebs and skittering things abide.

Eventually someone at the national press office actually spoke to me and gave me the number of the South London press officer, who, you guessed it, was unavailable.

At least I was able to leave a message on her answer machine. What do you think the chances of her getting back to me are?

So I am going to try again, and probably again and again to get a comment from anyone in the police.

And I am not even asking about anything controversial or detrimental to the Police's reputation.

Gotta love the boys in blue, so helpful, open and approachable.

Oh well, back to the phone-calls. Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Movember is almost upon us

26th of October 2009: Day 1.

As you can see I am already sporting some ice-cold designer stubble. I will be shaving the rest off tomorrow and just leaving the Mo.

I know I am a massive cheater. The rules say you are supposed to start growing the mo at the start of November.

The organisers, I think, failed take into account those of us who have the pathetically sparse facial hair of a 13-year-old choir boy. A month is nowhere near long enough for us.

Those hairless patches on my face are not, as you might have thought, the result of careful grooming. They are, and always will be, follicularly challenged.

If my face was a hair-growing field it would be about as fertile as the Gobi Desert. So I am cheating just a tiny bit and it's for charity and the end justifies the means, so there.

I am going to have to buy myself a pair of those little Mo trimming scissors so I can sculpt it into a dashing design.

If left to grow wild my facial hair goes sort of frizzy and curly and looks a lot like the hair from another part of my body, not my head.

This is what foiled my attempt, last year, to grow a pirate beard while travelling around south-east Asia. Oh, how my girlfriend hated the pirate beard!

I, however, was gutted when I was forced to shave it off on my return home. I had to get a job and who'd hire me looking like a deranged hermit who'd stumbled accidentally back into civilisation?

I do have a nice memento of it. I had to renew my driving licence and it makes me smile every time I'm asked for I.D.

We'll see how my moustache growing goes but if it's as spectacularly bad as my pirate beard I'm going to look pretty silly very soon.

All I have to do now is get some people to sponsor me or maybe even join me in the good fight. It would be awesome if I had a team of moustachiod men marching alongside me.

There are full details on my Movember page which will hopefully get a bit more interesting as I add things to it. And of course you can make a donation too if you feel like it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Who wants to hear what I have to say anyway?

Today I join the world of blogging and I'm worried I may have waited too long.

I might not get to write too many of these before I'm bound, gagged and shipped off back to where I came from, Northern Ireland in my case. The days when a free Briton could stand up and say whatever he likes are under threat.

Where does this threat come from, the BNP? Terrorists? Margaret Thatcher? No it comes from do gooder, interfering, tree hugging, self-righteous, liberals.

Yesterday's guest on BBC's question time, Nick Griffin. The man they tried to silence. The man so many people wanted to keep out of the public eye is now centre stage and representing the rights of the oppressed.

He has become a symbol for the right of freedom of expression.

Perhaps I don't have much of a sense of irony but I think there may be a little bit lurking in this situation somewhere.

Ask the same people who are trying to silence Griffin if they believe in free speech and after some self-justification, spluttering and contradicting themselves they might admit that they are all for it.

So how do advocates of equality, diversity and freedom of thought justify the attempted censorship of a British citizen, an elected representative of the country?

Well, because he disagrees with them of course. I will not pretend to understand exactly what his beliefs are but I think it's fair to say they probably do not include a belief in the same free society that his potential censors are trying to protect.

If they had managed to stop Griffin appearing on Question Time then what next? Ban his party entirely? Move on to it's supporters? Have them rounded up and their tongues cut out?

Maybe we should extend our gagging powers to everyone who doesn't think the same way we do? Let's go tape up Prince Philip's mouth, no wait, that might not be such a bad idea.

If you have taken the time to read on this far you may have noticed that I can string a fairly coherent sentence together without mentioning Islam is evil or death to all non-whites. This might lead you to the conclusion that I am not a member of the BNP.

Good deduction on your part, well done.

So why have I written a blog not so subtly defending Nick Griffin's right to speak?

I think for the same, fairly obvious, reason that the BBC invited him on the controversial programme in the first place.

To deny anyone the right the speak is to deny the right of free speech.

The people who, so passionately, supported the Guardian when they were muzzled by the super-injunction are the very same people who now want to take away the BNP's rights.

If a BNP member incites a riot, harasses an immigrant shop owner or beats up a gay person we have laws that will deal with that.

If all they are doing is talking then they have a fundamental human right to do so. Just like the Guardian, the anti-fascists and the bloggers of the world including, as of today, me.