You might just be the moron I’m talking to.

He's laughing because he can't believe he's doing so well either.
He’s laughing because he can’t believe he’s doing so well either.

This article deals predominately with English politics but the core is applicable elsewhere too, and it’s all too common. There will also be some colourful language and no small amount of ranting. If this is likely to offend you then it’s probably a case of like it or lump it, sorry!

Right then, let’s start with a very simple quick. I will ask some questions and I want you to answer truthfully. Ready? Then let’s begin.

  1. If I were to say to you I have concerns about our current immigration policies would that make you think I was a racist?
  2. If I were to say to you I have concerns about the negative effects on our culture and way of life that other imported cultures can have on us would that make you think I was racist?
  3. Do you think political parties such as UKIP or Britain First should be banned or at the very least not allowed the freedom to publicise their views?
  4. Do you think it’s reasonable to accuse all the people who voted UKIP as being racists?
  5. Do you like to think of yourself as a liberal person?

Nice and easy, yes? Now if you answered ‘Yes’ to one or more of the question up to number four then answered yes to number 5  you are exactly the person I wanted to talk to because, and I hope you take this in the way it’s intended, you’re a fucking moron. Now let me explain exactly why.

First of all I want to address your moronic notion that you’re a liberal person. Yes you might really love multiculturalism even to the point you ignore any negative aspects whatsoever, yes you might only buy fair trade coffee and chances are some of your best friends are black / gay / transgender (delete as applicable) but if you think silencing people for their opinions, even if those opinions are based in ignorance, is reasonable you’re not liberal. There’s nothing liberal about you, if there was you’d realise the price of freedom, the price of being allowed to have free thought, is that occasionally you’re going to hear opinions that make you spit out that mouthfull of green tea you’re enjoying and there’s not a damn thing you can (or should be able to) do about it. Being liberal means accepting other people deserve freedom of thought and the freedom to voice their opinion, it means you cherish those freedoms and encourage them. You don’t silence them with a campaign of vicious and often slanderous comments.

Have you stopped to think for a moment that you’re pushing people towards parties like UKIP? The more you belittle and attack people for having honest concerns over immigration the more you make them feel victimised, the more you make them feel backed into a corner and you can bet your last Quorn sausage they’ll turn towards whoever says “It’s okay, I get it”. Do you honestly believe someone who has valid concerns about how their environment is changing really needs hatred? Is that going to change their mind, is that going to help in any way? Of course not, but it makes YOU feel better knowing you’re dishing out the dirt to someone YOU have decided is a racist.

Nazi? No way, I buy fair trade coffee and have a gay friend so I'm definitely a liberal. Sure I think we should burn SOME books but my liberal friends agree so it's cool.
Nazi? No way, I buy fair trade coffee and have a gay friend so I’m definitely a liberal. Sure I think we should burn SOME books but my liberal friends agree so it’s cool.

Would I vote UKIP? No, of course not. I realise there are massive issues with our immigration policy and its impact on our country. I’m not stupid enough to believe you can force acceptance with attacks. And nor would I ever dream of voting for a party who would effectively dismantle the NHS given the chance or do away with silly, unecessary things such as maternity leave. But the thing is many of the people voting for them feel like there’s nowhere else to turn. The major parties ignore them and they’re attacked on all sides by people who call themselves ‘liberals’ yet prove to be every bit as appealing as some Britain First moron posting messages informing us as to how muslims are coming here, taking our jobs, shagging our children, and claiming income support. If anything those people, the genuine racists, are less damaging to our country because they don’t drive others into feeling the only party they can vote for is one which voices their concerns but is effectively the political equivalent of a knife wielding, clown shoe wearing, blind man at a special needs school’s disco. Sure, his guide dog is friendly and he says things you want to hear but if we’re really honest you should probably keep your distance.

So have a think before you join the neurotic masses on Twitter deriding everyone who perhaps thinks Islam is having undue influence on their culture or that poor immigration practice is changing their world faster than they can cope with. What they need is understanding and what you need to understand is you cannot, and never will be able to, demand acceptance. Time and education will do it and you can be damn sure treating these people, people who for the most part are every day, normal people who would be horrified to think of themselves as racist, with some fucking humanity instead of treating yourself to another bout of ego masturbation.

In closing I would like to address something to anyone reading this who did vote for UKIP. Have you really checked their manifesto? They aren’t a protest vote, they’re some pretty hateful people. Not as in racist (although racism and bigotry most assuredly is fairly rife from what we’ve seen) but hateful towards the people of this country given what they would dismantle and destroy. Do you honestly think we should cut immigration and spend the difference on our military?

Life can always get stranger!

A while back, mostly while doing the LiveLeak shows, I was asked if I’d consider selling Hayden T-Shirts. After laughing for a while I had to explain why I didn’t think that would pan out. Firstly I’m quite typically English when it comes to awkwardness regarding self promotion. Secondly I have a fear and that fear is not that I wouldn’t sell any T-Shirts, that’s not scary, no I was worried I’d only sell three and that I’d wake in the night and find one of the people who purchased one stood in my garden. Thing is as strange as it seems for people asking for Hayden T-Shirts it can always…ALWAYS…get stranger. Cue BigErn666 and his penchant for self decoration.

Bigern666 is a LiveLeak member who I met last year at the birthday show. He’s actually a really humble, polite guy who’s very good company. In addition to this his skin is almost completely covered in tattoos, including his head and parts of his face. Imagine my surprise, me being the guy who was too wary to have T-Shirts made, when I awoke one morning to find this video waiting for me on LiveLeak.

Yes, my face is now imortalised on a leg in Texas! Once the shock wore off I did realise it’s actually a tremendous honour and also bloody funny as well as being strange. I suppose Ern could always tell people it was meant to be the guy from Breaking Bad but his tattoo artist was drunk should he ever get bored of explaining who the scowling, bald man is on his lower leg.

It just goes to show the bar can always be raised when it comes to life getting increasingly odd. Guess I should get the T-Shirts and mugs done then.

The dark side of the connected planet.

The pros of a more connected world are convenience and better living through technology. The cons might just outweigh those to a factor of ten.

I am an unashamed tech junkie and, like many, I focus on the utopian aspects of living in an interconnected world. I thought it would be interesting to look at a far more dystopian vision for a change.

Let’s jump ahead in time, about ten years should do it, to the year 2024. The interconnectivity we often looked upon with great amazement, and perhaps a small amount of suspicion, has truly blossomed into an invasive entity which has insinuated itself into the very fabric of our lives.

The first thing we will notice is how the Internet has changed massively. Trying to access small sites or personal blogs and the like is akin to pulling teeth. Hosted on the archaic Internet 1 architecture what was once known as the Internet Superhighway is now nothing more than a rutted dirt road overgrown with weeds. Regardless of your access speeds (which are now vastly improved, more on that later) you’re lucky to load a page inside of a minute and video streaming – even high resolution images – are pretty much dead in the water. However if you wish to access YouTube, Facebook, and the other high res video distribution services you can do so easily. Granted all are sanctioned by the cable providers ensuring any content deemed to be “dangerous or subversive” has been removed and strict age verification is in place.

User generated content is still widely encouraged on sites such as YouTube but the main providers of content online are now the major corporations such as Warner Brothers and Viacom. After a merger with Warner the Apple Corporation is also a big player in online content providing pay per view services through its iView platform. Naturally most of the major releases from Warners are tied exclusively to this platform.

Copyright theft online has dropped enormously. With the crippling of Internet 1 and access to the much faster and more reliable Internet 2 prohibitive to anything smaller than a medium business with solid venture capital backing the torrent sites and the like have dropped off  the radar. Granted there are still some ‘darknets” floating around but access is limited and often too confusing for the average consumer. The downside is the massive loss of tax revenue as millions of smaller online businesses and ventures have been driven to the wall by costs. The entertainment companies consider this a success even though it has cost the US alone billions of dollars in tax revenue per yer and no shortfall is being made up by the increased profitability of the majors due to tax breaks, off shore headquarters, and other such measures.

The evolution of the 3d Web gained ground five years ago and now you can shop in all of your favourite stores in 3d and in real time. All you have to do is slip on your Occulus glasses and away you go! Of course it’s only major brands and companies who have the 3d Web facility as Internet1 couldn’t support the bandwidth requirements. It’s ideal for the corporations though because they can serve you the entertainment you need while selling you goods and offering micro transactions at regular intervals.

There is almost no electric device in your home which doesn’t access the net at this point. Given that the Internet is now carried via your electrical supply every home has internet access or at least a point of access for your hardware. You only pay should you wish to access the net but your devices require neither access payments or permission. Your smart meter and thermostat relay your heating and cooling usage back to your provider so they can not only bill you correctly but also advise you on your usage and how you could minimise your carbon footprint. Prices won’t go down but should you not follow advice your heat and cooling will be overridden by your provider ensuring you get what you need. After all, they know best based on research and information gathered over time from smart devices.

Television has come on a long way. The average home now has at least a 50″ “smart” television as the centerpiece to their living room. Resolution is up, sound quality is up, and all your programming comes via the net (through your electrical system) for a very reasonable monthly fee. If you don’t pay, or are late, your provider can of course cut your television off from source. Your TV will also be listening and using that ability, along with an inbuilt camera behind your screen, to track your viewing habits and even your conversations or ambient sounds to decide what advertising would be best served to you. You will obviously not be allowed to skip the adverts or flip channels during advertising but that’s a small price to pay considering Google enabled you to have a subsidised monster TV.

Your smart TV will also be your portal to Internet 2. You may still have a PC or tablet but the television will be the hub of your online experience. Naturally it will be voice controlled and that voice control, linked to a simple AI, will also be used to guage your habits and drive advertising to you accordingly. By which I mean to your television, to your phone, to your games console and even to your fridge.

Speaking of your fridge, it too will have a screen on front to deliver not only advertising but also “items of interest” to you. It could be offers from your favourite store through to dietary advice. Speaking of which the price of  chips has been lowered to the point all food packaging contains a chip which is picked up by the reader inside of your fridge. This way your fridge knows what you have, knows what you might need to order (it will be able to auto order your provisions if you like) and it will even give you healthy alternatives to the foods you have in there. Not only that but you can allow your fridge to order the healthier alternatives automatically. Of course, governments are looking for ways of making this compulsory but token resistance is still being made to the idea.

Law wise the Internet landscape has also changed. With the loss of net neutrality the corporations have acceded to the wishes of various governments to disallow what they consider to be “dissenting voices damaging trust in the government”. As a result anti government propaganda could see you placed on a watch list or possibly imprisoned depending on the severity of the case. Certainly it would lead to access to the net being severely limited. Also speech laws would be modified so that criticism of any race or religion would result in an automatic hate charge being placed against you. More ominous still is the fact organisations such as the NSA and MI6 have carte blanche access to all of the data gathering devices in your home. You’re not ONLY being listened to in order to serve your advertising, instead your conversations and habits are monitored by a huge system of mainframes constantly listening for keywords or phrases. Still, if you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to fear. Right?

You might wonder, in this dystopian world, why you can’t just disconnect your Internet access. To do this you would have to completely disable the power supply to your home as access is automatically piped to you. Having electricity without this gateway is impossible and furthermore access points are located on every street meaning if the supply to your home is disrupted for any reason important devices can still contact your various providers to tell them of the issue, and other things.

This is all pretty miserable, I know. But the good news is I just made it up. The bad news is, I’m lying about that. Whilst I’ve invented the always on / non-defeatable access to your home it’s certainly within the realms of possibility, along with access points in the street. Information via the electricity supply is something which is definitely possible and was mooted as far back as the 90’s (I remember a company considering it here, they decided there wouldn’t be enough demand…Ooops!).

Fridges that connect to the internet and can serve you advertising are already planned, smart televisions already can be used to provide information to providers and further changes are inevitable.

As for the legal aspects, all I’ve done is slightly amplify what’s already around us today. All of this is possible, much of it is probable, but not all of it is inevitable if you don’t want it to be and I’m certainly no sooth sayer but I’ll be damned if this isn’t looking more likely by the day.

E-Cigarettes. An unscientific and largely uninformed opinion.

E-cigarettes, the smoker’s last stand to anti smoke fascism. Apparently. Me, I’m a smoker. I realise it’s a filthy habit, I fully realise I’m committing a slow form of suicide, and I know I really should quite. Like REALLY REALLY should quit. The problem is that cigarettes are so damn tasty and delicious and, if I’m honest, a touch moreish. I have watched with interest the proliferation of the electronic cigarette and further witness my old man kicking tobacco into touch using one (he’s now kicked the e-cig into touch too…well done Mr Hewitt Senior, I’m proud of you old man). Naturally, I think I’m doing it wrong. Continue reading “E-Cigarettes. An unscientific and largely uninformed opinion.”

My American Internet friends, you’re being screwed…HARD.

I apologise for another Net Neutrality article so soon after the last but even if I’m shouting down an empty line I can’t leave it be. Right now you are being shafted, the one area of industry still available to all, the one area which allows for constant growth, the one area with any semblance of freedom and equality in business is being destroyed. The Internet. Continue reading “My American Internet friends, you’re being screwed…HARD.”

Dear media…GIVE ME A BREAK!

I know it’s probably trite and predictable to have a poke at the mainstream media and the cult of celebrity but for some reason I’ve been getting even more testy than usual. I’ve never subscribed to the whole “How can you worry about X when Y is happening” argument because…well…it’s stupid. But I do object to having all this celebrity crap thrust upon me and the worst part is that it’s not entirely the media’s fault. After all, they mostly feed us only that which we’re only too willing to eat. Continue reading “Dear media…GIVE ME A BREAK!”