Thursday, 24 March 2011

What I believe, part 1 - government.


Previously on The Random Babbling of a Slightly Odd Student: "...although I seriously doubt I shall be getting any comments, considering the number of views on my blog currently amount to about 2 (both probably being myself)."


Ok, so now that I know I have a (small) audience, I guess I'll keep going on with posting instead of giving up on life, knowing that my views shall never ever be heard (read) by anyone, wallowing in the gutter at my own failures and eventually dying forgotten and alone in some dark alleyway with a needle in my arm, only to be found half-rotten about a year later.

As I said, life is such a wonderful thing!

Since the mass media is still garbling on about the stuff I talked about in my previous post, I might as well go on a whim (one of possibly many to come) and talk about something that is very much my own opinion and my opinion alone. Well, mine and the myriad of things that have influenced my views as I've lived out my life. Which of course means that this (and everything else for that matter) isn't really my opinion at all, its just something I've come up with using the experiences I have garnered throughout my existence. Yay!

But anyways, what I wanted to talk about was my own beliefs. No, not anything like god or something rubbish like that (I'm quite the athiest, myself), though I might touch on the subject or religion at one point or another, which is of course when the shit will truly hit the fan (I'll try and make sure that I know I have the maximum number of people reading as possible by then to assure a big a uproar as possible).

Nay, I wish to talk about my beliefs on how things should be. You see, I have had, for a bit of a while now, an idea in my head on how things should be run in on this little island called Great Britain, or perhaps even beyond these borders (though I have even less power over there than what little I can do here). Yes, thats right, not only am I doing another uber duper londuperly serious post, but I'm making it a completely self-centered thing about what I think and using only my experiences! What can I say? It's my blog, I can do whatever the hell I want in it (and now, I just have to wait to get an email from Blogger saying that I can't do whatever I want under the Terms and Conditions or whatever bullshit).

Firstly, I think we need a revolution. The current system is simply too entrenched, and reforms the likes of which I believe this country needs simply will not happen under legal means. That is not to say that I encourage violence - on the contrary, I am a pacifist and wish nothing more than peace. However, I do believe that we must oust the whole idea of 'Parliament' and 'government', rather than simply trying to make reforms to it. The entire way that this country is run needs to change, I believe, and just trying to get elected into the current system won't do squat.

The thing is though, a lot of people already believe in revolution - Socialists, Communists, Anarchists... the list of the people who wish to see things change goes on and on. Problem is, I keep on seeing them say what is wrong with this country, but rarely do they say what they think should be done about it. Yeah, we get it - the world is a pretty damned fucked up place under the current systems. But how do we make a better system? This is the question I've been trying to answer in my little head for a while now, and I thought I might share it with you folk.

Is there any difference?
First of, how we are ruled needs to change. Right now we are stuck in a system which is falsely called a 'Democracy'. We do not live in a Democracy - how is this a Democracy, when it is not the people who rule? Instead we have a system in which every 4-5 years, we are given a extremely limited selection of 'politicians' whom we vote into power. These people can pretty much do whatever they want during these 4-5 years, and honestly theres not much we can do about it. We, the people, are not the ones making the decisions for matters that affect us directly. Instead it is millionaires and the upper class whom have no idea how much of a difference £30 a week can do for those most in need of such help. How is this a Democracy when none of our supposed 'choices' make any difference? We vote Labour  and they follow America into 2 wars which have caused vast amounts of pain and suffering for those living in those countries. We vote Conservative and they immediately start making vast cuts to the public sector, a move which is unnecessary and will not help us (bearing in mind that both other parties have been saying that cuts need to be made too, so we'd be getting it up our backsides whichever party came to power). And of course, we all know what happened to the Liberal Democrats. What kind of choice is that? No other minor party stands a chance, and even if they did, all we'd have are more broken promises. Perhaps these politicians really do have our best interest in heart (which I seriously, seriously doubt). But the current system does not allow for the people's best interests to ever be implemented.

Thats right America - your no better off.
This isn't just Britain, by the way, if your an international reader - pretty much every supposed 'Democracy' across the world has a similar system. Poor America, thinking that everything would become better now that Dubya has finally gone, only to have the Republicans and Democrats at each other's throats, thwarting one another's efforts to change things/keep things the same. Japan, changing parties for the first time in over 40 years, only to have the Prime Minister step down almost immediately after gross incompetence. Italy, up in arms over serious allegations over Berlusconi hiring underage prostitutes.
All across the world, we have false 'Democracy's, held proudly up high showing that the people have power, when really all we're doing is voting in people who will do us over again and again.
What we have today is called a 'Representative Democracy' - it means we elect a small number of officials to make the decisions for us, and, as previously mentioned, this system simply doesn't work - the people we elect no longer represent us, the people, but rather they represent whomever has the most influence, such as mega-corporations, banks, and other such things that I will get to at some point or another.

So what to do about it? I believe that we should be looking back rather than forwards for this particular one. About 2,500 years back, specifically, to the founding of Democracy, in Athens circa 508 BC(ish). Athenian Democracy, true Democracy, was a system very different from what we call Democracy today. In this type of Democracy, known as 'Direct Democracy', the people do not elect officials or governors, but rather perform the legislation and decision making themselves via voting for individual proposals rather than leaders or politicians. Decision making was done at the Assembly, which could be as large as 6,000 citizens - anybody who was an Athenian citizen was permitted to attend the Assembly, vote, and, most importantly, speak out their opinion about any proposition.

Now, obviously, times are incredibly different today and we certainly wouldn't be able to adopt the system wholesale without any alterations - Athenian Democracy, after all, was designed as a system to work for a single city state, while today people talk in terms of nations, states and countries rather than singular cities or tribes. Furthermore, the Athenian idea of 'citizens' comprised of a comparatively small percentage of people living in Attica, approximately 1/3rds of the population. Still, 1/3rds of a population (about 30,000 people at that time) is still significantly larger than the 650 MP's who pretty much rule over us as an Oligarchy today.

So, what do we need to change about the Athenian Democracy to make it fit with a nation of the 21st century? I have a few ideas upon this... (one thing to remember about me - I always have an idea. Quality, however, can't be guaranteed. If you take my advice its like browsing the internet at random - you could get something incredible and beautiful, but your a lot more likely to get Rebecca Black):

- Obviously, none of the prejudice seen in Athens. If your an law-abiding adult UK citizen, attendance of the Assembly would be allowed; race, gender, religion, sexual preference or any other features of oneself would not be used against you.
- To prevent laws that would encourage or implement prejudice in society, or to prevent other malicious manipulations of this system via 'loopholes' and such, this governing system should have some form of constitution outlawing any proposals that are seen as discriminatory.
- Localisation. This is a crucial one, and potentially not so obvious. While this method may not be so viable for nation-wide decisions, individual decisions for local areas should be made by the people living in such areas. Therefore, I believe that cities, towns, etc, should have 1 or more (depending on the size of the settlement) assemblies for proposals, speeches, voting, etc, to be held - this could be anything from a massive hall with amplifiers installed for large cities, down to just someone lending out their dining room for such discussion in small hamlets.
Totally worth basing our future government on.
- Take advantage of technology - in 500 BC it would have been incredibly difficult for a Direct Democracy to function properly on a vast scale without confusion upon the law and what decisions have been made in individual provinces. Today, though, we have a vast array of different methods for instant national and international communication. For decisions of a national scale, internet communication, online forums, and debates on TV's, radio and other media should be used to spread a proposition and the arguments for/against a proposition. We live in a wonderful world where free speech for all is easier than it has ever been - lets bloody well use it.
- Multiple methods of debate - Britain (well, the world in general) desperately needs more ways we can speak our mind. While we technically already have the right to free speech, there are very few ways we can actually practice our free speech without social or even legal rejection. How many times do you see people just saying how they feel in the street, to anyone whom would hear them? If your experience is anything like mine, its not often at all. Heck, even to protest we are required by law to consult with police, and protest in the manner that they want us to - in a way that cannot change anything.
See? Its this easy - you don't even need a revolution to put a freakin' sign 

in the ground.
So, as well as Assemblies where formal debate can be held, I believe we need far more speakers' corners. This wonderful little idea, where anyone can say what they believe, should be implemented in every city and town in Britain. It doesn't even require much effort - just take any old pre-existing park and put a sign there saying "speakers' corner", and BAM! You have a convenient and socially acceptable conduit to free speech. (I also hereby promise to never, ever use the atrocity known as "BAM!" ever again)

Now, of course, there are going to be flaws in this system. Every governmental system on the planet does! (which, by the way, isn't an argument for Anarchy, cause its natural for humans to try and make order out of chaos.) But I like to think that this sort of a system could work under the right circumstances. Unfortunately, those circumstances aren't always met. Giving the people power means that one needs to trust the people to make proper, educated decisions with proper insight into the decision being made. Democracy with the lack of this can lead to disastrous consequences, as people blindly lead themselves into wrongful decisions that can harm the community its striving to govern.
Basically, this means that education is really fucking important in a Democracy. So, thats another thing I really think needs changing.

Bloody hell, this has gotten really long... Right, tell you what, I shall make this a small series! I've got a few more topics I want to cover as with what should change, but I really don't want to put too much information in a single blog (as I've already done here...). So, education will come soon! So please come back. Please...?

How about if I offer you a hug?

Saturday, 19 March 2011

War in Libya, crisis in Japan... Isn't the world a wonderful place?

So, two quite major things have been consistently reported in the mass media as of late (which, of course, means that nothing else whatsoever is happening anywhere else!) - firstly, the ongoing civil war in Libya, and secondly the natural disaster in Japan, more specifically the not-so natural nuclear power plant crisis. Being the 'responsible' (*cough*) citizen of the 'civilised' (*cough cough*), 'modern' (*hemorrhage*) and, most importantly, 'free' (*dead*) Western World, I decided I'd toss in my opinion about these two matters for my totally-not-imaginary audience on this blog.

First off, Japan!

Land of the Rising Radiation Levels?

Now, I had a rather heated (if slightly drunken) debate with a friend of mine a few days ago upon this topic, specifically upon the safety of nuclear reactors considering what was happening in Japan. Unfortunately, I'd happen to pick a verbal fight with someone who knew significantly more about nuclear reactors than I ever will. Consequently, I and my arguments were pretty much torn asunder, ripped to shreds and strangled with my own intestines that had been savagely pulled out from my arse and offered to the Sun God on top of the great Aztec pyramids.

Figuratively speaking, of course.
Wait a minute, wasn't it the heart that was important to the Aztec Priests...?

Anyways, basically the argument that my friend gave in response to my ever-so-slightly feeble "but its not safe" point, was that the 40-year old nuclear power plant (and its probably-not-40-year-old engineers) is (are) actually doing exactly what it was meant to in the case of a crisis - I can't remember exactly what all his points were (despite, unlike him, being almost completely sober), but an example would be that the explosions at the plant that everyones been fretting about was actually one of the safety features of the plant (yes, an explosion for the sake of safety, it confused me too), one of the sides of the building being weaker than the rest so the blast would go in a safe(r) direction. Furthermore, the explosion didn't actually get to the reactor itself, meaning that there was no chance that the explosion would have caused any kind of meltdown (an occurrence which, fortunately, is looking less and less likely by the day. Hurray!).

So, contrary to news stories, the nuclear reactor is actually doing relatively well under the circumstances and all necessary precautions are being made. Yipee! Celebrate! Free cake for all!
Unfortunately, not so fast. Yes, the nuclear reactor itself may be mostly safe, but the media certainly isn't portraying it that way, which can certainly have more of an affect than some might imagine. Thing is, the social implications of all these stories is probably a lot more damaging than the health implications will ever be - just as the stock value of a company can rise and fall by mere rumours, the social health of a society can be deeply affected by the news (Yeah thats right, fuck you "words will never hurt me" phrase), even if all they say isn't true. As this article puts it, "the understandable fear [in Tokyo] of what might happen at the Fukushima plant is overshadowing the real human tragedy unfolding further north along the devastated coastline." Now, I may be no psychologist, but I think that such constant fear of radiation poisoning from a nuclear power plant would be pretty damnably stressful. 30 million people live in Tokyo, and at least some of them will likely be thinking that dangerous nuclear fallout could be descending upon them at any minute, especially so if the news reports over in the Land of the Rising Sun are anything like the ones over here. In fact, these (possibly unwarranted) fears over radiation are already causing some amount of chaos in Tokyo, with people going as far as to moving out of the city via bullet trains. Trust the Japanese to turn to their ridiculously awesome technology in a time of crisis...

Now, I'll be honest here, I don't really have any solution for this whole shenanigans to do with the fears over the nuclear crisis. But it does kinda show that nuclear reactors can have a social consequence as well as a health one - and such consequences aren't often regarded when the whole pro/anti nuclear debate flares up.

Rightio, now that finished my first proper post on my blog and... wait, what? That was only one of two topics?
Fuck, Libya! (Strange how much a single comma can do, is it not?) Of course!

It's all to protect the oil Libyan people, of course.

Right, as of 16:45 GMT yesterday, United Nation forces including the United Kingdom, France and the United States of America have launched attacks on key targets in Libya, scrambling jet fighters and firing hundreds of missiles into pro-Gaddafi forces and air defence sites in Tripoli since the UN placed a no-fly zone against Libya after consistent use of fighter bombings against the rebels. 

Of course, both sides are yabbering on about all sorts of nonsense, the Libyan state TV reporting that civilian buildings were bombed under the Western attack and calling us the "crusader army" (how quaint), while our own state TV, the BBC, briefly mentions this and then rambles on about how all the Western leaders are saying its all "necessary" and blah blah blah. Frankly, I really don't trust either of them to a great extent considering a) a lot of reports from Libya are kind of fuzzy, and b) lets be honest, theres no such thing as 'unbiased' news.

Furthermore, I really think its rather hypocritical of Western leaders to be making such a hissy fit over the Libyan government's tyrannical rule, since we've been selling them weapons that have been used against protesters. It's ok to sell weapons to a ruler you certainly already knew was completely mad, until the people start rising up against him, hmmm?

Nonetheless, I am honestly a bit split about this one - despite this whole 'we sold them the weapons in the first place' thing, its true that the Libyan rebels have been pushed back significantly and that the government's leader and his son are a tad bit mad. Truthfully, it seems likely that tragic things will happen to those who opposed Colonel Gaddafi if he succeeds in defeating the rebellion entirely.

At the same time though, while there have been reports that the rebel leader(?) is calling for military intervention of the West, images like this show a different story. Furthermore, I question the motives behind the whole affair of the Western intervention. As has been mentioned before, Libya is the most oil rich nation in Africa - something that should really be considered. A lot of corporations will have a big interest in the future of Libya, and not because of humanitarian reasons. And honestly, the interests of corporations can and do shape the interests of governments as well in this Capitalist old world.

Also, if the rebels win, what then? What exactly will change? What are the aims of this whole revolution other than ousting the current long-standing leader? Will anything actually get better for the people living there, or will it simply be a case of another tyrant taking Gaddafi's place? Considering that many of these questions appear to be unanswered, should we really be supporting this rebellion that we know nothing about? Yes, Colonel Gaddafi is pretty screwed up and something should be done about him, but thats all utterly pointless if the country just continues to be in chaos and repression afterwards.

All of this said, the truth of the matter is, if we don't intervene, Colonel Gaddafi will almost definitely win, and lots more people will die. If we do intervene, then the rebels stand a chance, and lots more people might die.

I really don't think we have any right to be the 'World Police', I fear that this is running head-first into another disaster, and, perhaps most importantly, I really fear that all this beating the drums of war by the mass media looks all too eerily similar to how the media reacted about the proposition of invading Afghanistan and Iraq. However, at the same time, we do nothing and this revolution, which so many Libyan people have fought hard for, will be for nothing, or even worse. So, as I said, I'm really split about this issue.


So, yeah! I've finally finished my first (potentially grammar/spelling error ridden) post! Woohoo! Any comments would be appreciated, although I seriously doubt I shall be getting any comments, considering the number of views on my blog currently amount to about 2 (both probably being myself). Still, maybe I'll become popular one day, who knows? Anything can happen...

And if your not a figment of my imagination, you've been reading The Random Babbling of a Slightly Odd Student! Thanks!

Friday, 18 March 2011

I've started a blog! EVERYBODY RUN!!!

Oooooooh boy, this should be interesting. Right! Erm... Hello world! How is everyone???


...Right, nobody actually knows I'm here...

Anyways! This blog is basically just a place for me to ramble on about whatever the hell I really want to, though I'll try to keep a theme on really going on about 3 particular topics that I really like to talk about and whatnot: politics, video games, and (a slightly odd one) things to do with circus skills, although I am almost certainly might deviate completely slightly from these topics on a frequent basis the odd occasion, particularly if  fuck all is happening or I just goddamn feel like it cause here I am God almighty, muahahahaha! something important has come up which I feel is necessary to talk about.

So, to summarise this extremely short first-time post (whiiiich kinda means I don't really need a summary but shut up, this is my space... well, probably not if there's something about Blogger owning all rights to this blog (and my immortal soul, naturally) in the Terms and Conditions So I can do an unnecessary summary if I wish to!), basically I'm going to rant about whatever the hell I want and in all likelihood there's nothing you can do about it. I'll at least try to make it interesting...?

Anyways, if anyone stumbles on upon this place, welcome to the Random Babbling of a Slightly Odd Student!