Manchester Attacks.

Sigh, I’m really unhappy that news stories like these are ones that keep appearing. Yesterday, on a lovely Monday evening in Manchester, the biggest terrorist attack since July 2005 happened at an Ariana Grande concert at the MEN Arena. We know the attacker died, but so did 22 people and 59 people got hurt.

I haven’t said much about it yet because we are still not sure about the events, or the culprit, or the 23-year-old man arrested in connection to the attack.

This is what we do know:

  • Shortly after Ariana Grande left the stage, an explosion was audibly heard from the stands.
  • The explosion came from the foyer area of the arena. This explosion has killed 22 people and injured 59 others.
  • The culprit was a lone male, and he died in the explosion. He’s been named by the Greater Manchester Police as Salman Abedi. He was 22, and of Libyan origin.
  • The bomb used was homemade and contained nuts and bolts.
  • Police and Ambulance response evacuated the arena within minutes.
  • Hotels in the area sheltered those affected overnight.
  • Police have raided several properties in connection with this incident.
  • Daesh (known to English-speakers as ISIS) have claimed responsibility, but we still don’t know if they actually were behind the attack.
  • The youngest victim was eight years old.

My thoughts and prayers naturally go out to everyone affected by this incident. What I’m calling for now is unity. Terrorism by definition, creates division by means of mass panic and fear. But also, I’d like to make a point. I’m too young to remember the events properly, but when I was less than four years old, Manchester was hit by a terrorist attack by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The method was somewhat similar, but fortunately, despite the bomb going off, nobody was hurt. Manchester didn’t stop working, complaining about the weather or drinking their cups of tea. They carried on with their lives, and nobody panicked too much. They won’t do so now, or ever. Daesh or whoever was responsible literally picked the one city in the UK where people don’t panic. Armed with a coat because of the rain, a smile and a mantra of “It’ll be reet, our kid”, the Mancunians are the embodiment of Dunkirk Spirit. They will carry on, regardless.

Yours,

Davey.

Let’s talk about Naming and Shaming via social media.

Personally, I never really do this to people who aren’t already thrust into the public spotlight. I have been noted to call out people who are already known if they have committed what I perceive to be wrong, (hence the Jack Buckby Open Letter, and the multiple thousands of times people shared it on social media). It’s my belief that to “name and shame” someone on social media without so much as a shred of evidence is completely and utterly wrong. Only after the police put it on Social media or it appears in the news will I ever do something about it. The reason is simple- It’s all getting a bit Lord Of The Flies with a friend of mine.

The friend in question is a very vulnerable teenager who has found themselves homeless and is now in emergency accommodation. His former girlfriend and the mother to his child is severely disabled, and is struggling with the Facebook post that has had hundreds of shares already.

I want to talk less about my friend though, and more to do with the mass phenomenon that seems to be happening on social media.

I first noticed this phenomenon in the national newspapers, during the early 2000s in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on London. Several people’s names and addresses were published by the tabloids and it sparked vigilante attacks on innocent people throughout Britain. In the aftermath of Operation Yewtree, far too many people falsely accused of horrific offences had their names and homes listed, and fortunately, nobody has been hurt as far as I’m aware, other than the obvious destruction of self-esteem, mental health and reputation.

Then came Stinson Hunter. I have to admit, because Mr. Hunter operated within legal parameters and brought many paedophiles to justice, I’m a fan of his work. He genuinely does make a difference and has caught some very high profile people in the act. I also understand that his work derives from a perceived lack of effect from the Child Exploitation and Protection Unit (CEOP) of the police. The thing is, despite the almost daily reports of young and vulnerable people being exploited and worse, we have to understand that this is success. These are stories of the worst of humanity being locked away, keeping our children safe. There will always be vigilantes, so long as police exist. So why do we sometimes feel the need to join them?

Well, partially due to a collective sense of outrage and fear, fuelled by right-wing tabloids that dominate our newsstands and shops, and partially due to collective and social outlook. We all look out for the kids on our streets and our neighbourhoods. If we didn’t, we’d be partially responsible if any violence occurred. A simple glance through history would tell you that.

So, what do you do when you end up in my situation? Well, as part-blogger, part-journalist, I do my research, but for now, I’m ignoring it.

Yours,

Davey

Why I appeared at the Lancaster LGBT Pride March

So, thanks to the hard work of Robert Mee, LGBT Out In The Bay and several different organisations (I can’t list them for reasons that are word-count related), Lancaster had it’s first LGBT Pride march yesterday (20/05/2017). Thank goodness, as even though Lancaster is generally very tolerant towards people who are LGBT, the neighbouring town of Morecambe generally isn’t.

Despite the downpour (which is usual for the city), over 1,600 people turned up and marched, armed with loud voices, cheerful spirits and rainbow flags everywhere. It was a truly magical day, with Cat Smith MP, Guardian Columnist Owen Jones, Ian Ashton (North West Police’s equality and diversity officer) and many more appearing. I got to meet Owen Jones, which was awesome!

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In truth, my day should have gone brilliantly, and without a hitch, but in the words of Robert Burns, “The best laid schemes of Mice and Men aft gang agley”. What this means is that even on a perfect day, something will inevitably go wrong.

In my case, this was a guy I see regularly at church. As keen fans of my blog, or for those who know me personally know, I have a faith. This faith is Christianity. I won’t go into too much detail, but this chap, who I shall name Dale for the sake of anonymity, collared me around halfway through the march, and disagreed with both my presence there and my standpoint. The thing is though, even though Dale tried to use the Holy Bible to argue his standpoint, he was wrong. Here’s why.

If you’re going to try Thomas Aquinas’ argument that even creation follows natural law, every species known to mankind has specimens that display bisexuality and homosexuality. Every animal in the animal kingdom, and yet, only human beings in the homo sapien form display homophobia. So how can this form of bigotry be natural?

The next argument that Dale used was from Leviticus. *Cracks knuckles* In this format, Dale used Leviticus 20:13. The thing is, Leviticus is the lawbook for how to follow God’s holy law, and the point of this book is that no human alive could ever follow God’s laws. That’s because we are sinful at every point where we forget god, and no amount of piety, or obsessive law-following can change this. That is why Christians worldwide see the need for Jesus in their lives. Through putting our trust in him, as he paid the price for our sins, we can once again become right with God.

Dale then used a New Testament argument at me. This argument was based on 1 Corinthians 6:9, and it follows the views of Saint Paul on who will get to heaven. The thing is, this passage reflects Paul’s attitudes and the attitudes of the day far more than Jesus’ views. There are plenty of things that Paul talks about, including the endorsement of slavery, that isn’t widely practised in today’s age. In fact, although I personally don’t buy this idea, there is an argument from secular analysts and scholars that Paul himself may have been, to turn a phrase, “in the closet” himself. Like I typed there, it’s not an idea I subscribe to.

Moving on, this is my view. Christ’s message throughout the four “gospels” or the first four books of The New Testament is one of universal love, tolerance, kindness, charity and forgiveness. The word “christian” itself means to be Christ-like, and the only things you read about him speaking against are divorce, fig trees, people who misuse holy temples and religious zealots.

I’ve said my piece.

Yours in Christ,

Davey.

Why I’m Voting….

There we go- you all clicked on my link. But, not being Buzzfeed or GiveMeSport has responsibilities attached, so I’ll let you know who I’m voting for, firstly from a local perspective, and then from a national perspective.

I’m voting Labour. There, I said it.

I’m voting for Cat Smith for various reasons. Firstly, she lives in Lancaster, and I think it’s very important to live in the heart of your constituency. It allows you to understand the people you want to vote for you. Secondly, she’s consistently voted for and against the same things I campaign for and against. These include a halt to cutting the infrastructure on this country’s welfare system, higher taxes on intoxicants and massive corporations in this country, less taxing of smaller companies in the UK, and stricter laws regarding landlords and their treatment of tenants.

I’m voting for the Labour party for several reasons, but first, let me deal with the criticisms I often cite of them. I don’t like Diane Abbot. I really don’t like Diane Abbot. There are others within Jeremy Corbyn’s close circle I’m not fond of. However, when voting, you’re supposed to place policies and plans above the people that champion them. Also, thanks to the brilliant people at Ipsos Mori, the policies Corbyn and the Labour Party Manifesto actually make a profit, without discriminating against the fringes and the poorest of our society. So economically, I’m not too worried.

I’m voting Labour because I’m not okay with a government that continues to endorse manipulative zero-hour contracts and then classes them as “employed” to score political points. I’m not okay with a government that will make people with dementia have to pay for their treatment posthumously. I’m not okay with a Prime Minister who’s repeated use of the mantra “strong and stable” is starting to sound Dalek-like. I’m not okay with a government who cuts housing benefit to 18-22 year olds, who are the people most likely to need it. I’m not okay with a brexit so hard you can land a plane on it.

There. I’ve said it. Vote Labour.

Let’s talk about… The McDonald’s Advert

I know it smacks of “click-bait” but following mass media outrage at an advert not so far removed from a John Lewis Advert, it’s time we talked about the recently pulled McDonald’s advertisement. For those not in the know, this is the offending advert in question.

This advert caused massive amounts of controversy from people all over political spheres as well as just ordinary folk. Here’s what I think:

One on hand, this advert is just promoting what I call “McDonald’s Moments”. In the UK, it’s safe to assume that most people at some point in their lives have been through the Golden Arches and had a meal. Not particularly nutritious ones, I grant you, but most people have. I remember one of my first times doing so in Blighty was after I’d been suspended from school. My parents bought me a McFlurry and explained how upset they were. Thankfully, there were no repercussions following this. I’m not alone, though. McDonald’s aren’t “the happiest restaurants on earth” for some areas of the UK, they’re community centres, they’re meeting points, cyber-cafes, the list goes on. This recent advert isn’t alone in promoting the idea subliminally, as they’ve had several like this before.
Furthermore, the advert is actually quite touching in some ways, as it’s depicting a young man trying to find out more about his absent father. Whether the father is dead, or just merely absent is neither touched upon nor implied, but there is a certain kind of implication through the language used by the mother and also the opening shot of the boy closing a shoebox, which could have potentially contained his picture.

On the other hand, the soundtrack is used to heighten the emotion, with an Erik Satie-esque being used as incidental music in the background of the advert throughout, and unlike most McDonald’s adverts, this time the music is sombre and grieving, as opposed to how jolly and happy the music on McDonald’s advertisements tend to be. The script is terribly written, as one could argue that the mother is emotionally manipulating her son into “behaving” or conforming to archaic etiquette standards.
Bullshit. I’m sorry, but this is politically-correct-and-insecure people feeling offended at something which really isn’t that offensive. I’ve never known what my Dad was like, as I’m adopted, but this really hasn’t offended me at all. If anything, I was crying with emotion.

 

So yeah, this is my take on it,

Davey