Archive for the 'art and culture' Category

Thoughts on monetising user data

Aral Balkan asked me to “cut to the chase, Bruce: do you find anything wrong with the business models of Facebook & Google (monetising data)?”

It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about, but it needs more than 140 characters, so here goes. Note that these are my personal opinions. I work for Opera, which has business relationships with Google, Facebook, and its own advertising arm of the business.

But I also use Google and Facebook services privately so have my own views as a user; again, these are my opinions, not those of my employers.

I work on the web, but at home on my own, so I use Facebook and Twitter a lot. Not only is it useful for discussing work, but it’s my “watercooler”. I don’t mind that the personal stuff I write is publicly available, although I keep my location secret and no longer put the names of my kids online. (Facebook stuff isn’t public. I only really use it as it’s where non-geek real-life friends are.)

I don’t much mind that Google tracks my searching habits around the Web (although I would pay money not to have to watch Treehouse Woman again on YouTube, because she’s too shinyhappy, and puts her coffee down on a wooden surface without using a coaster).

The annoyance I find is offset by the fact that I understand why they do this; it’s how they make money to support the services I use for free, which are primarily Search, Gmail and YouTube. (I get no benefit from Google+.)

In short – I understand that “I am the product being sold”, and am OK with that. Similarly, I’m fine with getting tailored money-off vouchers for products that I use, sent to me by supermarkets who know what I use because they monitor it. I opt in, because I see value in that. You may not; that’s fine.

As long as the companys’ privacy settings are both clear, and honoured by the company, I don’t see this data gathering and data mining as inherently intrusive. I’m not sure that all companies privacy settings are sufficiently clear, however; I read a case study some years ago in which a good-sized sample of people were asked what privacy settings they had on their social networking, and it was compared with the actual setting – very few matched. The Facebook Android app permissions are certainly opaque.

Perhaps companies that do monetize data could make their privacy settings more transparent, and be even more obvious that the price of free is your data. But I think the latter is pretty obvious to those who give it a little thought; we can’t always handhold stupid people. There should certainly be a simple method to delete all one’s data and history from public view, and which will be removed from the company’s server/ archive within a defined period of time.

What annoys me most is when people or organisations use my data without my permission. For example, a few years ago, my wife had a minor car accident. Somewhere in the chain of insurance company, loss adjusters and repairs garage, our phone number was given to an unauthorised third party and occasionally I receive a phone call from a call centre trying to sell me “no win, no fee” ambulance-chasing legal services.

But beyond annoyance, what alarms me is secretive State intrusion into my life through my digital tracks. I assume that all companies – whether a supermarket loyalty scheme or a social network – regularly comply with warrants from law-enforcement agencies going about their legitimate work.

Let’s assume that the social networks and search engines, as they claim, don’t just hand over all their data to the governmental snoops. It then seems to me that, unless they’ve been fantastically lax with their security – which is certainly possible, but unlikely, given that it’s their core cash-generating asset – they can’t be blamed for the actions of the government.

We know from Edward Snowden that some companies’ data is just wholesale hacked by NSA, GCHQ and other state bodies. The legality of this is being debated in courts at the moment. The morality of this is clear (to me): it’s wrong. “If you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear” is the refrain of the KGB, the Gestapo and every despot across the globe.

Government intrusion isn’t new. When I was a teenager, I joined a communist party. My letters from them were always opened (and no others). Presumably, this was done actually by the UK Post Office on police orders – that is, complete collusion, even thought there was no warrant or reason to fear an idealistic but naive 17 year old. It’s also long been rumoured that the voting slips of all UK communist voters were cross-referenced against their counterfoils and the names of communist voters given to Special Branch and MI5.

In short, to answer Aral’s question: I don’t feel that commercial organisations using data that I’ve opted to provide them, for the purposes they said they’ll use if for, is wrong. It’s part of modern capitalism, which contains plenty I have to hold my nose about, but that’s a much longer blog post which I can’t be bothered to write.

The worrisome aspect is states illegally stealing our data from those companies, and putting us under constant surveillance, justified by keeping us safe from this year’s bogeymen.

But those same social networks and web companies allow us to share information on what they’re doing and organise in order to protest against it. The tension between individual liberty (I believe privacy is an integral part of liberty) and state control is not new. The threat may be greater because of technology, but the platform to fight it from is greater, too.

David Tennant’s Richard II (RSC)

We went to see David Tennant as Richard II in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s eponymous production last night. As a production it was all you’d want from RSC – great actors, impeccably staged. But I can’t get over the feeling that actually, it’s just not a very good play (or it simply hasn’t aged well).

It’s a reasonably early Shakespeare play, almost all in iambic pentameter with very little prose, and a great deal of rhyming couplets (later plays close scenes with a rhyme, but don’t use it throughout). This made a lot of it sound like a Hallmark greeting card poem as the rhyme and rhythm are quite regular.

There’s also a howling clunker of plot, in which one character simply forgets to tell another of the death of the previous King’s widow:

[Servant:] My Lord, I had forgot
To tell your Lordship, to day I came by, and call’d there,
But I shall grieve you to report the rest
[York:] What is’t knave?
[Servant:] An hour before I came, the Duchess died.

I almost laughed out loud at this.

Another problem is that Richard II is a thoroughly unlikeable character. Perhaps it’s a failure of Tennant’s acting or Greg Doran’s direction (but I doubt it; they’re both highly professional) but Richard simply has no redeeming features, so you I didn’t care what happens to him. He’s vain, messianic and treats his nobles badly. He deserves to lose the throne. At least with Richard III, you enjoy his evilness; Richard II just seems rather wet.

On Goethe and “sobbenbunker”

Leaving Germany earlier today, I tweeted a farewell, politely using the native language of those I was farewelling “Ladies of Germany, auf wiedersehen. But don’t cry in your sobbenbunkers: I shall be back to schaden your freudes and zeit your geists asap”.

Two German speakers asked me what “sobbenbunker” means, which surprised me. It simply refers to a room for crying in. German culture invented the word “angst” because Germans spend at least 15% of their day crying over existential worries about the futility of it all. Given that most homes have a dedicated room for the toilet – an activity which normally consumes much less than 15% of the day – it’s unsurprising that middle class Germans had a dedicated room for weeping and sobbing. (Now they get it all out at football matches.)

The “sobbenbunker” was the subject of one of the big song and dance numbers that German poet Goethe wrote in his early draft of “Faust: the musical”. In the song, Mrs Faust learns of her husband’s pact with the devil, and goes off for some angst in the sobbenbunker. Faust sings “My pact with satan is a clunker/ mein Frau ist in der sobbenbunker./ My heart recoils at words she’s spoken: / for me, her fotze is verboten.”

However, Goethe removed the song before publication. Although at heart, he was a light entertainer, he was constantly stung by criticism from serious High German artists that he was dumbing-down the culture. Beethoven and Brecht were particularly scathing, deliberately re-naming him “Goatse” in interviews to show their disdain. In an attempt to rid himself of his low-brow image, he took all the songs out of “Faust: the musical”, and reinvented it as a rather dull treatise on good and evil.

On prostitution

Mariya tweeted a link to an article on why young women in rural China become mistresses of older men, which reminded me of living next door to a paid mistress in Thailand, and she prompted me to blog about it. So here goes. Names are changed, by the way.

When I moved to Thailand in 1996 to help set up a school, I took a 3 month rent on a small room in a new hotel near my work. On my floor there was only one other resident, a very well-dressed, attractive woman in her mid-20s. We soon became friends, leaving our doors open and popping in and out of each other’s rooms to chat, gossip, eat, drink beer and smoke.

Lek didn’t seem to work, but attended college every day to learn how to cook, went out most nights and, frankly, seemed to have more disposable income than I had. This was surprising for two reasons; firstly, most Westerners employed in Bangkok with work permits earned three or four times what the locals earned. Secondly, while there were many Thai kids with rich parents, they tended to be fair-skinned, whereas Lek was dark-skinned and from the impoverished Southern provinces of Thailand where a long-running terrorism campaign to secede from Thailand and join muslim Malaysia had damaged the area.

I asked her about it, and she told me straight: she had an older, Western boyfriend called Mike who was posted to work in Thailand in some big engineering project. Mike was married, but his wife was back in England with their kids. Mike paid for the apartment, her college course and took care of her living expenses. In return, she was his mistress. She was to be available for sex, going out to parties or weekends away. The sole stipulation was that she was not to have sex with anyone else (a wise move; in the late 90s, HIV was rife in Thailand). She didn’t love Mike, although she liked him – she viewed it purely as a business relationship. Mike, however, did get jealous of me (until we lied and told him I’m gay); I found lots of Westerners who had mistresses or picked up prostitutes deluded themselves that they were emotionally involved rather than simply buying a service.

Before I’d met Lek, I had always assumed that prostitution was a sordid business of trafficked or abused women being forced into it by a pimp. It had never occurred to me that it could be voluntary. I asked Lek if she felt exploited. “Absolutely not”, she answered. She explained that she had a sister, a year younger, still living in the home village “in the jungle” (as she put it). Her sister had four children by a man who beat her when he was drunk, and who forced her to wear a veil. “I have a nice apartment, I’m getting an education. Mike is a good guy who treats me well, we go to parties where I meet lots of people, I’ve learned English and have friends from all over the world. This is freedom – don’t pity me.”

Who was I to argue?

It made me wonder, though, why we still get so squeamish about sex. If someone works with their bodies to entertain by dancing, or gymnastics, or sports, we don’t pity them. Neither do we condescend to other people who look after others’ physical needs for money – we don’t pity a person who cooks food or others, or cuts their hair, or massages their aches, or looks after their teeth. So why do we look down on people who voluntarily offer sexual services?

UK ISPs confirm central database of filter opt-ins

After convincing my Member of Parliament, John Hemming, of the folly of Cameron’s plan to censor the web in the UK (sorry, I mean filter the web), he’s been doing some digging with the ISPs, writing to them to ask whether they plan to store your opt-ins privately on your router, or centrally.

He’s published the answers to his emails to BT, Sky and Virgin. BT were evasive, and TalkTalk didn’t formally respond, but it’s pretty clear they’ll store them in a centralised database. What could possibly go wrong with the government having access to a list of all those who want to see porn or “extremist” sites? It’s not like we live in a surveillance society, is it?

John and I would like to publish a fuller list. If you are a customer of an ISP that’s not on the list, please email them and ask them if they plan to store your opt-ins on a centralised database, what categories they intend to filter (eg, porn, extremism, alcohol, drugs) and how they will categorise them (eg, who will decide whether BNP/ EDL sites are “extremist”?) and paste it into a comment below. Please include the date and time the reply was sent, and who signed it (so we can double-check before publishing on John’s blog).


New “Tits ‘n’ sport” laptop … just for men!

Here at Lawson Industries, we were excited to read the announcement by Fujitsu of their “Floral Kiss” brand of PCs for Women, with gold trim, a flip latch that can “easily open the display—even by users with long fingernails”, a power button “adorned with a pearl-like accent”, and outtake and intake vents “featuring a floral motif design”. Perfect for Jane Austen and other pre-Victorian ladies to write their delicate little novels.

Over the past 6 months, we’ve been working hard on a special “Tits ‘n’ sport” laptop, just for men.

The flip latch is easily opened, even by big hulking hairy chaps like TV extras from On The Buses, or Real Blokes with 6 pints of Stella inside them. The keyboard has been reduced to three buttons – “Tits”, which immediately connects to porn websites, “Sport”, which connects to sports websites and “I’m Free”, because our close examination of 1970s episodes of “Are You Being Served” shows that some slightly suspect men are effete and say that a lot.

Like the Fujitsu ladies’ laptop, which comes in Elegant White, Feminine Pink and Luxury Brown, this new masculine computer comes in Bell-End Purple, Skidmark Brown and Can’t-Separate-Colours-Before-Using-a-Washing-Machine Grey.

We’ll also be releasing a laptop for black people (the “Our Colonial Friends” edition) with enhanced sub-woofers on the speakers because those customers have natural rhythm.

Poetry corner: Emily Dickinson

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was a prolific American private poet; fewer than a dozen of her nearly eighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime.

Most interestingly, however, is the fact that many of her poems can be sung to the haunting melody of “The Yellow Rose of Texas”.

I investigate further.

The four tiers of David Bowie

After extensive scientific research, I can reveal the four tiers of David Bowie.


I realised I own no Bowie except an old 45 rpm single of “Sound and Vision” which I can’t play as I have no record player, went to the web to buy The Platinum Collection and listened to it a few times.

Rating system

- 20% is awarded for a catchy chorus
- 20% for having a good verse as well (often why some songs are relegated to Tier 2 or below – great choruses but weak verse)
- 20% for weird lyrics, sexual ambivalence
- 10% for singing in a funny voice (machismo of “Boys Keep Swinging”, mockney sneering)
- 10% for odd instrumentation (“Heroes”)
- 10% for a blistering guitar part (whether medlodic like Starman or just nasty like “Boys Keep Swinging”)
- 10% for being seminal (“Ziggy Stardust”)


1 bottle of Toro Loco Tempranillo wine, stereo cranked up so loud your partner wakes up and comes downstairs to give you a bollocking before stomping off to bed and waking early to turn on some bullshit Kerrang radio in revenge.


Tier 1 (80% or more): Starman, Ziggy Stardust, Suffragette City, Heroes, Scary Monsters, Let’s dance, Boys Keep Swinging, All the Young Dudes (but Mott The Hoople’s version is still better at 100%; Bowie’s suffers from too much sax)

Tier 2: (65% – 79%) Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, Fashion, Jean Genie, Space Oddity, Sound and Vision, Diamond Dogs, The Prettiest Star

Tier 3: (50% – 64%) China Girl, Changes (great choruses, weak verse) Rebel Rebel, Oh You Pretty Things

Tier 4: the rest

Tier 67: Laughing Gnome, Tin Machine stuff, execrable covers of Let’s Spend The Night Together, The Alabama Song


Bowie’s best is sublime, and had hardly dated at all. There is a perception of a quality drop-off in the 80s, but some great songs came about during that time, although there was a lot of mediocre funk nonsense too. In a career spanning four decades, there is a good deal of filler but that’s both unsurprising and forgiveable, given the brilliance of his Tiers 1-3 work.

If Bowie came round to my house, I’d share a bottle of red with him and we could have a jam, and I’d even let him use my 12 string elecro-acoustic guitar.

On Prince Phillip’s “Filipino nurse” comment

Prince Phillip told a Filipino nurse “The Philippines must be half empty – you’re all here running the NHS”.

The man has a history of ethnic jokes in questionable taste. But this one has a nugget of truth in it. For years, UK governments have let other, poorer nations pay to train their own nationals to be doctors, nurses or midwives, and then, when they’re ready to help their own populations we recruit them to work in the NHS here.

And what about the health care needs of the people of the Phillipines, India, Bangladesh and other major sources of health-care professionals? Not our problem.

What is our problem is that the same governments posture and prattle about curbing immigration, giving British jobs to British people, and generally promote anti-immigration feeling which they know can become racial tension.

The NHS is a vote-winner. So is sounding off about immigrants. See how it works?

Geoffrey Clark’s redacted Gravesham Council election manifesto

The newspapers are reporting that charming representative of English tolerance Geoffrey Clark has been suspended by UKIP for his manifesto in which he froths at the mouth about “grandmas from coming to the UK from the Punjab to baby sit for their daughters for years, thereafter to become a burden on the NHS after that”, suggests compulsory abortions for women carrying foetuses with Downs syndrome or spina bifida and offers all octogenarians free euthanasia advice.

Mr Clark accurately notes of UKIP that “Many voters still believe we are the BNP in disguise, are extremists, madmen or dotty”, and helpfully dispels any doubt by clarifying “I am clearly not a madman nor dotty”.

I wrote to him yesterday to ask him if this was some kind of elaborate hoax by political enemies and to clarify which of the two disclaimers is accurate: “THE FOLLOWING DOES NOT REFLECT UKIP PARTY POLICY. IT IS ENTIRELY THE PERSONAL OPINIONS OF GEOFFREY CLARK” (i.e., he supports these statements) or “I do not, and UKIP does not, endorse any of these ideas: they are suggestions of matters for the review body to properly consider” (i.e., he doesn’t support them, he’s just tossing them out there in an election manifesto should conversation dry up while he’s doorstepping.)

I received no reply and inexplicably his manifesto is no longer online. Luckily, I saved a copy to my hard-drive. Here’s the full, unedited text.




I am a Kentishman, born in Dartford, a chartered accountant, Protestant married to a Catholic, a ‘baby boomer’ aged 66.

Population, immigration and threats to Britain’s Green Belt are the three linked issues closest to my heart. I am also concerned to improve the party’s image and in particular the candidate selection procedure. I am proactively opposed to Same Sex Marriage, which is an abhorrence.


I am mainly content with our policies but believe we must be very much harder when presenting them to the electorate. We are far too sqeamish about attacking our opponents. We must attack them mercilessly, remorselessly and harshly.



The three main parties are highly vulnerable on this issue. Britain’s population rose by 3.7 million in the 10 years to 2011, according to the 2011 national census. This is desperately bad, pitiable, scary, and a cause for bowing of heads in national shame. UKIP must be much much harder on the political parties that caused it – LibLabCon – and on the countries whose populations are rising rapidly such as Kenya, Nigeria and Mexico. The UK is just as guilty and therefore we must be much harder on ourselves. Population growth and declining quality of life go hand in hand [Malthus, "The Principles of Population", 1798]. Attack these countries mercilessly on this issue. We must attack them for their wantonness; we must reduce their overseas aid to zero if they do not reduce the rapidly rising trend of population growth. Criticise the Pope and the Catholic Church for their wanton negligence on this subject. In the UK, restrict Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit to the the first two children only, and withdraw those benefits if there is a third and fourth child. The state should not subsidise large families. Educate people to have no more than two children. We must use all fair means to stabilise the UK population at 62 million, including leaving the EU.


The three main parties are highly vulnerable on this issue. Inward migration to the UK should not exceed net emigration in any year. Thus we must leave the EU to achieve this. Deport riff-raff such as the Zimbabwean woman asylum seeker who secretly worked in Smethwick while claiming £29,000 of benefits. Allow only one appeal, then straight on the ‘plane… stop making lawyers rich at the tax payer’s expense by allowing endless appeals. Halt all immigration including immigration from the Commonwealth for 10 years. Cut foreign student numbers by 75%. Stop grandmas from coming to the UK from the Punjab to baby sit for their daughters for years, thereafter to become a burden on the NHS after that. Introduce a ‘burden on the state’ test in which all visitors must have a return ticket and sufficient funds to maintain themselves during their stay. End one year visas. Re-introduce the Alien status and the need for them to report to a police station every 3 months or risk being deported. Refuse asylum to asylum seekers if they had a nearer safe country to flee to. For example, a Sudanese fleeing to Britain should flee to Egypt or Ethiopia rather than to Britain. Send asylum seekers on to those countries without appeal. Asylum should be refused and he/she should be returned there. Return them to their home country if they fail this test. Eject all asylum seekers when their home country is deemed safe or if any part of it is deemed safe, regardless of whether they have married here or have children here. Forbid EU citizens who are convicted criminals from coming here. Deport them if they have convictions that are serious.


The three main parties are vulnerable on this issue, linked as it is to net immigration from the EU of 250,000 annually. The Green Party are vulnerable on parts of this issue. Politicians in the three failed main parties really don’t care about the Green Belt. If they cared seriously about the Green Belt in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, they could never support the High Speed Rail Link planned to go through those counties, nor an estuary airport, nor wind farms, nor make exemptions from planning rules to allow building on the Green Belt. But they support all of these severe attacks on the Green Belt – all of them devastate the peace of the countryside. They support them for confused reasons: ‘an expansion of construction activity will provide jobs’ (but for Slovaks and Poles); ‘We need to cut 40 minutes off the journey to Birmingham’ (while telling us that we should travel more by bike); ‘We only make exemptions from building regulations for social housing and affordable housing because it’s much cheaper to build social housing on the Green Belt’ (the point of the Green Belt is that it’s not supposed to be built on at all, except for agriculture); ‘Wind farms provide an alternative source of green energy’ (extremely inefficiently, with huge subsidies that are not affordable). UKIP must seize these traitors by the throat, metaphorically speaking of course, lambast and fight mercilessly anyone who wants to build on the Green Belt whoever they may be, whether Government, farmers, housing associations like Moat Housing (“We build on the Green Belt because it’s a lot cheaper” – the scumbags!) calling them swines, speculators and traitors to the peace of the countryside. Attack them mercilessly on this issue. Offer support to local action groups who are fighting plans to build on the Green Belt. Invest money in setting up such groups where they don’t exist. Become associated closely with this issue. Start marches, make banners. March with me to picket Moat Housing’s two head offices in December 2012, bearing placards reading “HAPPY CHRISTMAS MOAT, GREEN BELT DESTROYERS”. If you want to join me, contact me on


The three main parties are vulnerable on this issue. They all love the UN. The UN desperately needs reform. The three main failed parties should stop supporting Israel so much. Recognise the reality that Israel is as much a threat to world peace as Iran – perhaps more so. Israel has ignored every UN resolution ever passed that told Israel to stop doing something, such as building settlements in occupied territory. Iran is generally shifty and not to be trusted. The UN should eject both Israel and Iran from the UN. But of course they won’t, because life is very comfortable at the UN, and also ejecting countries may set a rather uncomfortable precedent affecting themselves. Therefore, reconstitute the UN. Attack the other parties mercilessly on this issue. We ourselves are vulnerable on this issue. We must change course.


The three main parties are extremely vulnerable on this issue, which will become a major issue when it nears a Parliamentary vote. We may secure the first defections of MPs to UKIP on this issue. Mr Cameron may be unseated by his own MPs as a result of pushing ahead with this unwanted measure. All three failed main party leaders – the LibLabCon – are in favour of it. The Greens are very much in favour of it, as many of them live in Brighton. I oppose Same Sex Marriage, which is an aberration, an attack on the Christian church and on other religions, and our culture, and is completely unnecessary. It is so divisive. Boris Johnson wants to push ahead even faster with it. UKIP must be much harder on the “Achilles heels” of other parties such as this issue, making them even bigger issues. It is a major missed opportunity otherwise.

My position on Same Sex Marriage is:
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -
I am tolerant of gay people. I support civil partnership. But gay marriage is a step way too far. It is an aberration. Messrs Cameron, Clegg and Milliband are aberrant to support it and traitorous to our nation to legislate for it. It is an incredibly divisive step. We are not permitted a referendum on the matter “because we operate through Parliament”. Because the Bill to legalise same sex marriage will be a free vote and will pass overwhelmingly despite the nation’s overwhelming opposition to it, it will render Parliament undemocratic and unrepresentative of the British people. This will undermine completely the already shaky esteem in which we hold our politicians. This will be a calamity for our nation’s democracy. Messrs Cameron, Clegg and Milliband all need to be toppled from their posts to prevent this treachery to the British people, its customs, traditions, and religions.

We must draw a line in the sand and say “This line must not be crossed”. Write to your MPs and ask them to topple the three main party leaders from their posts if they pursue this divisive measure. We must not let these three leaders sleep at night over this treachery. We must organise a march on Parliament about it. Who will join me on the march?


The three main parties are extremely vulnerable on this issue, as are the Greens. If a Christian church becomes a mosque or a Sikh temple, as has often happened, it is absurd to say – as the 3 failed main parties do say – that this makes no difference to our culture. On the contrary, it completely changes the tone of the area, causes an influx of adherents to those faiths, and causes white flight. White flight has begun in earnest. We must ban the burkha as France has done, as this is a cultural affront to the native population. We must take care not to become a minority in our own country, as is the case in London already, where over 50% of the population is born outside the UK, including 100,000 Egyptians and 100,000 Brazilians. Will the failed 4 failed parties who read these facts finally admit that our native culture is being subsumed in another culture or, even worse, swamped? You can bet your bottom dollar that they won’t. They will persist in their lie, and thus will continue to dupe the electorate and betray our country for longer. We should not be squeamish about this matter, nor be furtive about going on the attack. We must attack them remorselessly over it. It is a major missed opportunity otherwise.

I wrote this poem about the problem:



… Do you see?

It’s so much like the end of Rome

With all the Roman legions returning home

Permitting Britannia to burn, decay, alone.

But other foreign legions are returning,

Bringing a kind of cancer in their wake;

Cancer not of Britain’s doing, but one that Britons make.

Our present leaders are elected to preside

Over our ancient green and pleasant land

Just to give it all away, to an alien hand.

So this cancer slowly spreads all around us.

Then our empire crashes, near unnoticed.

Must we hand it to the strangers without protest?

Will our children hate us for an absent deed? –

The treachery of which is so apparent?

With marriage killed, what deed is more abhorrent?

First freedom, then glory, and when that fails,

Wealth, vice, corruption. Barbarism at last!

‘Tis but the same rehearsal of the past.

…So do we wait, or do we act?

We must strike out now, and turn the tide,

There is very little more time to wait,

‘Else children will have for us the guilty, nought but hate.”

By Geoffrey Clark 17.11.12

though George Gordon Byron helped with verse 6


The three main parties are extremely vulnerable on this issue, as are the Greens. There are so many examples of Christians being pushed onto the back foot and being disadvantaged in favour of other religions; punished for wearing crucifixes while it’s OK to wear the burkha. Keep Sunday special. Defend the freedom of religion, other than wearing the burkha.


Here are some passages from the Koran [Penguin Classics version]:-

WOMEN: 4:24

You are forbidden to take in marriage married women, except captives whom you own as slaves.

WOMEN: 4:25

If any one of you cannot afford to marry a free believing woman, let him marry a slave-girl who is a believer.

WOMEN: 4:34

Men have authority over women because Allah has made the one superior over the others and because they spend their wealth to maintain them.

What sensible person believes that stupidity today? Anyone who does believe it today must be a scumbag and must be told so. Stop being squeamish about telling scumbags that they are scumbags, just because they happen to be Muslim scumbags.

The Koran is 1300 years old and is in desperate need of updating so men cease to abuse it. You will doubtless agree that the Koran needs to address women as well as men, and a lot of updating is needed. How can such a book be respected – quite aside from being followed? UKIP has a solution. The leaders of the main faiths should get together in 2013 and agree to update all their holy books by 2020 then re-issue them as appropriate for the world in which we live today, not for the world of hundreds of years ago. Then, women were subservient and it was “sort of OK” to have slaves. Today it is unconscionable behaviour.

[Slavery still exists today among Muslims, e.g. in Mauretania, but that issue must await more research]


Each of us will be a minority at some time or another: for example, when we are on holiday in a strange country. But in that instance we brush up on that country’s culture and take care not to offend anyone there. But we British don’t demand that others do that here. We tend to respect their culture, and allow them to deviate far from ours, and then tolerate that deviation even if it is an irritant. I am not happy about that, and oppose that approach. In the 1960′s there was talk of integration of minorities into the British culture, and governments strove to achieve it, but that aim seems to have been abandoned in favour of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism can cause separation, ghettoes, erect imaginary or even real walls, and serious divisions occur, whereupon tensions rise, all quite needlessly. An even worse danger lurks. When a minority perceives that it is in the unique position of being free from criticism, for example travellers tresspassing on land (using the race card), and homosexuals demanding to stay in a B & B against the wishes of the owners (invoking the Equalities Act), there is a serious risk that they will abuse their privileged position to the detriment of the majority. It can cause real hatreds to build, which produced the London bombings of 2005. Then you have the beginnings of a tyrranny of the minorities against the majority, a supreme unfairness, whereupon very serious strife will likely ensue. We must avoid this calamity occurring by talking of integration again, and achieving it, and cease the encouragement of multiculturalism. In my opinion the tyrrany of the minorities has begun, as evidenced by the travellers at Vale Farm in Essex, and by the homosexual couple taking the B & B owners to court and winning the case. Their so-called human rights have led to actual human wrongs, and therefore those abominable rights have to be reversed, as they constitute a monstrous attack on the majority. Christians have been attacked in Sudan, Nigeria and Indonesia. Churches are not allowed to be built in Saudi Arabia, China, and some other countries, whereas we in the UK allow any religious building to be built here. In order better to protect minorities worldwide, we should encourage all religions to update their respective holy books. The King James Bible is 400 years old, the Koran 1300 years old. In the latter, women are presented very clearly as being the property of men, to be beaten if disobedient [WOMEN: 4 : 34]. The Torah is ancient and the Sikh holy book over 100 years old. These books were not written for today’s world. Each of these gives some offence to the adherents of the others.
To summarise, we must defend minorities while taking great care to ensure the majority is not disadvantaged.


The NHS should remain free to all British citizens at the point of delivery. Non-British persons should be required to take out compulsory health insurance cover that includes both health care and repatriation to their home country in the event of serious illness. Many jurisdictions insist on this insurance cover, but the UK does not. To compensate, abolish national insurance (which in any case is a tax on jobs) and combine it with income tax. Visitors including tourists must be refused entry to the UK without health and repatriation insurance (apart from EU citizens currently, which is a concession that will change after we leave the EU). A serious national debate and a government review are required urgently regarding service levels in the NHS, as the NHS risks becoming unaffordable in the future. The review should embrace all avenues for rendering the NHS more cost effective and affordable. Such matters might include the following aspects: medical treatment for those over 80 years of age, which is disproportionately costly to the NHS; (the cost of treatment for the often multiple ailments of the very elderly is growing very fast); identifying what services can and can no longer be afforded by the NHS. If the NHS in the future is rendered unaffordable, what shall be cut? It’s no good saying we must cut the national debt, and then keep increasing expenditure, as we are doing. The review might also include: legalising euthanasia and giving free euthanasia advice to all folk over 80 years of age, and indeed to all others. Hold a national referendum about these pressing matters. If we don’t make these changes, the national debt will soar and the NHS will eventually collapse – two calamities instead of only one. Other items for review: ceasing all free IVF treatment on the NHS; cutting unecessary waste e.g the destruction of drugs in care homes when residents move on to the next care home or the next world; the pregnancy abortion time limit; compulsory abortion when the foetus is detected as having Downs, Spina Bifida or similar syndrome which, if it is born, could render the child a burden on the state as well as on the family. CLARIFICATION TO AVOID CONFUSION AND MISREPRESENTATION: I do not, and UKIP does not, endorse any of these ideas: they are suggestions of matters for the review body to properly consider in light of the stated desire of all political parties to reduce the national debt.


We should indulge in unashamed elitism. Promote the cleverest British students. Introduce grammar schools everywhere. Senior schools should be allowed to specialise more and focus more. We should maintain the national education budget but not increase it as a proportion of GDP or national expenditure. Instead, we should encourage all people to educate themselves by using libraries and the Internet more and by making education courses tax deductible. Allow head teachers to exclude any pupil if the Chair of Governors supports the action. Defend head teachers by charging £10 to complainants to make a written complaint, as each complaint takes half a week – a huge distraction. Educate parents to support the school staff as much as they support their children. Make parenting courses tax deductible. Eliminate bogus colleges. Reduce foreign students by 75%. Cease the 5 year “right to stay” concession for foreign students – they must go back to their home country.


Some of the above aims will never be achieved unless we leave the EU.


Campaign to leave the EU. Force an in-out referendum. Win it. Leave the EU, then participate in an economic and cultural renaissance of our once great nation. The EE is too weak knee’d – as is our own government – to criticise China for invading Tibet, and destroying the Tibetan people’s freedom, language, currency and culture. Why were the Jews allowed to have their own homeland and allowed to settle in land occupied and stolen from Arabs, yet the Tibetans cannot have their homeland in their own territory? What is the EU doing about ending Chinese imperialism and colonialism? Nothing. What is the UK doing about it? Nothing.



The three main parties are vulnerable on this aspect. The Coalition government is unpopular. It is mid-term and voters are prepared to give other parties a chance. UKIP is growing in popularity. UKIP must be fearless in calling other parties TRAITORS TO BRITAIN which on several fronts they are. Implement a much more robust candidate selection process. Party leaders must not serve on the Candidate Selection Committee and must be forbidden ever to discuss candidate selection with members of that committee. Fight every seat but focus on, and concentrate resources including money on, the most winnable seats, making sure that they have excellent candidates. Hire a researcher to identify winnable seats. Party leaders should fight more parliamentary bye-elections, provided nof course that they have been properly approved then selected as candidates. Print a UKIP membership form on the reverse of 50% of all A4 election leaflets delivered to houses… every newsletter to houses to contain one within it … every UKIP member’s newsletter to contain tow loose ones within it, with a request to the member to hand them out or leave them on bus or train seats.


Any organisation’s image is always improvable, and in my opinion our party’s image is much improvable. Many voters still believe we are the BNP in disguise, are extremists, madmen or dotty. Although they don’t tell me this to my face when I campaign (perhaps because I am clearly not a madman nor dotty) I sincerely believe that many are thinking it. I myself have been described in a Tory leaflet as being an extremist, which I certainly am not. I am sometimes told by voters that they will be wasting their vote. I feel that they tend to believe what the other parties say, more than what we say. Thus we are still not sufficiently trusted. If this is true, then this is our Achilles Heel; we are on the back foot in terms of image and so we have to work much harder on this, invest in this, and train our candidates in how to counter this. It will cost money. This is just one reason why I believe our candidate selection process has to be made much more robust.

In our literature we often state the obvious, repeat what we have said many times before (£55 million spent on the EU daily, which fact may well be true but it gets tiresome for readers to keep on reading it, and we often fail to inspire. Seize one local issue of great import, where the other parties are vulnerable on it, and keep on hammering it home. We should combine hardness of attack and forthrightness on the one hand, with the use of beautiful, clever, inspirational language on the other, rarely using aggressive intolerant language, although such language is very occasionally necessary. All facts must be well evidenced by, for example, displaying photocopies of newspaper headlines or whole articles – not just giving quotes from them, and also not just from the Express (bless that newspaper). We must provide very high quality evidence that supports what we are saying and link what we are saying to our country’s problems. Electoral support will then rise. My personal technique when campaigning is to invoke risk management, and to produce a risk register, be it national or local, and issue it. In it state what the precise risk is of not following UKIP policy on this or that matter … a scare tactic, yes, but why not?

When what we say is better evidenced, and more compelling, and beautifully written, voters will sit up and take note and begin to believe that what we say is sensible and relates to the nation’s problems … then they will vote for us.




Nigel Farage, Chris Adams, Ray Finch and Sanya Thandi will tell you what a decent fellow I am, and how devoted I have been, and very much still am today, to UKIP.


Updated 17.11.12


The History of the Future [population growth]
Juliet Gardiner continues her History of the Future with a look at the predictions of the clergyman and economist, Thomas Robert Malthus.
This late-18th century vision of the future came from an urgent problem Malthus identified, which threatened the future of the masses. The problem, as he saw it, was that population growth would outstrip man’s ability to feed himself. Unless population was controlled by man, famine and disaster would inevitably result.
Malthus developed this theory in 1798 in his essay The Principle of Population. He was a man of God – the curate in a parish in rural Surrey from where he was well-placed to notice that he was Christening more babies than the number of people he was burying, and became alarmed about levels of rural poverty on his doorstep. To modern ears his predictions seem startlingly prescient as we struggle with population explosion in many parts of the world, and fret about our ability to feed ourselves with finite resources, debating the merits of GM crops.
Juliet Gardiner digs down into the predictions to discover how the future looked from where Malthus stood. Where did his dark vision about future population come from in a society which had not yet conducted a census? Juliet speaks to Donald Winch and Niall O’Flaherty and visits the Surrey parish where Malthus preached, Christened and buried the dead.

Produced by Victoria Shepherd A Juniper production for BBC Radio 4