The REAL Human Rights record of the UK

Some time ago, David Cameron (at the time, Prime Minister of the UK) raised concerns over alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka.

It has been well documented that other countries over the years have had poor records on Human Rights, but perhaps we in the UK should look closer to home….

Diego Garcia is a tropical, footprint-shaped island located south of the equator in the central Indian Ocean.

It is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) and comes under a group of islands referred to as the Chagos Archipelago.

In 1971, The British Government decided to relocate all of the inhabitants (who were, incidentally British subjects who had lived on the island for generations) against their will to Mauritius so they could lease the Island to the United States to build an Army Base on.

This is in stark contrast to the British Government’s attitude to the Falkland Islands:

Inhabited by British subjects, we went to war with Argentina to protect the rights of the inhabitants to live on that particular island.

The majority of Diego Garcia’s Islander’s who haven’t died waiting to go back to their homeland currently live in squalor in Mauritius.
They have lodged appeals through the courts in the UK, and won, only to be overruled by successive British Governments using archaic secret powers you don’t get to read about in the mainstream media.
To add insult to injury, our government first stated the island wasn’t inhabited in the first place, declared the island a Marine Nature Reserve, and went on to say the island was not capable of supporting human life – despite the fact that there is a military base on it, complete with restaurants, shops, and army personnel.

In 2000 the British High Court granted the islanders the right to return to the Archipelago.
On 10 June 2004 the British government made two Orders in Council under the Royal Prerogative forever banning the islanders from returning home, to override the effect of the 2000 court decision.

On 11 May 2006 the British High Court ruled that the 2004 Orders-in-Council were unlawful, and consequently that the Chagossians were entitled to return to the Chagos Archipelago.

On 23 May 2007, the UK Government’s appeal against the 2006 High Court ruling was dismissed, and they took the matter to the House of Lords.

On 22 October 2008, the UK Government won on appeal, the House of Lords overturned the 2006 High Court ruling and upheld the two 2004 Orders-in-Council and with them the Government’s ban on anyone returning.

This story of Diego Garcia and the forced removal of  an entire generation of people is covered  in John Pilger’s excellent documentary “Stealing a nation.”

So the next time our government tries to highlight another country’s Human Rights record, remember that here in the UK, many things go unreported…

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2013, 2018
All rights reserved.

Would you rent your property to a black person?

In a recent episode of “Inside Out” broadcast on the BBC on Monday the 14th of October 2013, it was discovered the some Letting Agents were actively discriminating against black tenants.

What staggers me is certain sections of the media, in their outrage, are acting like covert racism is a new problem.

In the past, I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve rung up to view a flat, only to find when I’ve arrived for a viewing twenty minutes later to be told the property is no longer available.

Racism is still alive and kicking.

To assume otherwise is frankly naive, and misguided.

On the other hand, my current landlord clearly doesn’t care what colour I am. We’ve spoken on the phone many times, but never met.

I pay my rent on time, he is content.

There is no place in today’s society for racism of any kind.

Problem is nowadays, in many cases, racism is a little more subtle.

I hope in my lifetime that we get to a stage where colour doesn’t matter.

We are all simply human beings, after all.

I doubt we’ll get there, but you have to have a little hope….

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2013.

All Rights Reserved.

Baiting the email scammers

So there I was, minding my own business, when the typical scam email appeared in my inbox.
Normally I’d delete.
But not this time.

They all follow the same basic pattern: they have money, they want to share, they need my details.
Fair enough. Who am I to pass up millions of free dollars?
Here’s the email:

Email Scammers

My response?

Dear Mr Van Der Kaap,
I am extremely intrigued by your offer, though before I reveal any personal details about myself, or the fact that I am the Managing Director of a well-known chain of shops selling the number one erotic toy, I have to ask who else have you told of this remarkable offer, as I find it hard to believe I am the only person you have made this offer to.
As such, revelations to another person would surely reduce my cut?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely,
Seymour Butts.

His response will be posted……

What printer companies don’t want you to know

I bought my first printer back in 1998, made by Epson.
After two and a half years of printing quite happily, it gave up the ghost. Flatly refused to work.
On screen was the message: “Parts inside the printer have reached the end of their service life.”
After only a few years?

I ran a cleaning cycle, and bought and installed new cartridges, all to no avail.
Then I rang Epson, who told me I could send them my printer (at my own cost) and they would service it, and send it back. The only problem was, the cost of this “service” was  way more than I’d actually paid for the printer in the first place.

So I bought a new printer, then did some research.

This is what I discovered.

Printer companies lure us in with the promise of relatively cheap printers, then sting us when we need to buy new cartridges – pretty much the business model of Gillette, the razor manufacturer.
All printers are made so they deliberately fail after a few years.
All printers have something called a Waste Ink Pad

This is a small brick-like absorbent pad which sits in the bottom of your printer, absorbing ink released every time you start up your printer, or when you run a cleaning cycle.

The problem comes when this pad gets full.

All that excess ink sitting in the bottom of the printer causes the printer to shut down, otherwise your printer would have a bellyful of ink sloshing about causing havoc with the internal electrical parts.

On top of this, all printers have a Protection Counter – an internal component which counts how many pages you print over the predetermined “life” of the printer.

Once a certain limit on the pages you can print is reached, your printer shuts down.
In the case of my second printer, this is set at a limit of 46750:


Between this counter and the waste ink issue, eventually lights start flashing on the printer, and it inevitably stops working.

What happens next is the average consumer tries everything to bring their printer back to life, eventually gives up, then buys a new printer.

Then the cycle continues.

The second printer I bought was an Epson R220.

And it’s still going strong after more than 10 years.
When I bought this printer, I modified it a little.

Rather than the waste ink going to the bottom of my printer, it is now directed into a bottle outside my printer.


I have software which resets the protection counter, and have a Continuous Ink System installed, so I’m not paying for overpriced ink cartridges:




So the next time you purchase a printer, be aware you can do this too.
I use Epson printers as they are the easiest to modify.
I avoid HP printers like the plague (unlike most Epson’s, they use a replaceable print head – the bit that does the actual printing – so more money for you to part with when this part inevitably fails.), as in my experience they go wrong more often.

If you follow the above tips, you’ll enjoy years of printing, just as I have, at reasonable cost.

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2013.
All Right Reserved.

Britain and the lies on the “War on Terror”

Nowadays, it’s remarkably easy to brand anyone a terrorist.

Often no evidence is required.

If the government and certain sections of the media brand someone as a radical terrorist with suspected links to a certain group, then it must be so.

Generally the brainwashed population blindly accept this as fact.

Take the widely publicized case of Abu Qatada, who is currently under worldwide embargo by the United Nations Security Council Committee 1267 for his alleged affiliation with al-Qaeda.

Abu Qatada has been systematically imprisoned in Britain since 2002, when he was first detained under anti-terrorism laws.

In spite of various government officials branding him dangerous and radical, he has not been prosecuted here for any crime, or actually charged with anything.

Our Government is currently trying to deport him, having extracted a “cross my heart” promise from Jordan not to torture him.

I don’t know the man personally, and I don’t know if he is as dangerous as Theresa May (current Home Secretary) keeps on telling us.

What I do object to is our current policy of locking people up under draconian anti-terror laws, and not actually charging them with anything.

The normal civilized rule of law dictates that a suspect is apprehended and charged, and a case is built. The suspect then goes to court, and, if guilty, they are convicted and go to prison.

Not in this case. This man has previously been bailed from prison, then re-arrested.

In November 2008, Qatada was rearrested at his home. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission rescinded his bail, stating he had not broken bail conditions, but “might do at some time in the future”.

So in this country, we release someone on bail, then put them back in prison on the basis they “might” break their bail conditions in the future – even though there was no concrete explanation given for this assumption.

Not unreasonably, I would actually like to see some evidence against this man.

I have read through a vast amount of news reports, and so far, despite the British government branding him a “Fanatical Radical Cleric, who is clearly dangerous” they have not so far provided any evidence to support this claim.

Our government tells us something, we blindly believe it.

I’ve read the claim that Abu Qatada was Osama Bin Laden’s “right hand man” in Europe, and depending on which newspaper you read, this opinion has been credited to everyone from a Middle East Terrorism expert, our own government, various newspapers, a High Court Judge, and my dog.

I could declare I suspect my neighbour was Saddam Hussein’s Right Hand Man in Camden Town.

I could say it.  Doesn’t make it so.

Not unless I quantify this statement with evidence.

The same government who now tells us what to think is the same that has lied to the British public numerous times over the years:

Weapons of mass destruction, North Korea launching missiles at Europe, various dictators once propped up and sold weapons to by the West, then branded murderous dictators who must be bombed. If few innocent civilians lose their lives in the process, that’s unfortunate.

The real problem with the so called “War on Terror” is that if you bomb your way around the world, all you really do is give various people a reason to hate you, and foster revenge.

And when we’ve devastated all these countries under the ludicrous guise of liberating them and promoting our particular brand of democracy, we’ll dehumanize all the people our armed forces have killed.

They are no longer people, but become “insurgents”, “rebels” or “enemy combatants”

The reality is ordinary civilians are killed in these invasions – someone’s mother, brother, father, sister.

After our rather biased media get through reporting these “unfortunate” civilian deaths, we seem to forget that an Iraqi, Afghan, Palestinian, or African life is no less precious than anyone one else’s.

Biggest irony is that when we in the West bomb another country and murder people, we are clearly spreading democracy.

If someone else does it, they’re rogue states, headed by evil murdering dictators.

And of course, we’ll teach them violence is wrong by bombing them….

The Identity Parade

Back in the day when I was a fresh-faced teenager, I had the dubious experience of being in an identity parade.
I was hanging out with three friends in Southgate, North London, when we were approached by uniformed policemen who asked us if we could take part in an identity parade.

Now, given my past dealings with the police, the thought of voluntarily walking into a police station didn’t exactly fill me with joy.
One of the policemen said it wouldn’t take long, and we’d be paid £25 for our time.
I’ll get my coat.

Once in the police station, they took our details.

I say “details.”

We gave them names, addresses, and dates of birth.

Just not our own.
Old habit, but more of that in another blog.
They led us into a room with about seven other black males, roughly similar in height.
At this point, there was quite a jokey light-hearted atmosphere.
We knew we were just there for the pay-day.

Some other dude would clearly get picked out as the culprit.
And we also knew who the accused was, as he was the only one allowed to change places with anyone, or take someone else’s hat as his own.
The police made us all stand in a row, and placed numbered cards from one to ten in front of each person’s feet.
Now I must mention at this point that what I knew then about identity parades, I learnt from television.

I expected bright lights and two-way glass.
How wrong I was.

An elderly woman entered the room. She walked the line, peering intently at every face in turn.
She got to me, peered at me, walked past.
And then came back.

At this point, I started to sweat. I knew I hadn’t had any dealings with this woman before today, yet, ridiculously, I was sweating. And she was looking at me do it.

She stood in front of me, slowly looking me up and down.

I tried not to look guilty. Multiple thoughts were tumbling through my brain.
What if she picked me? The cops would ask where I was on the day of…

I had trouble remembering what I did last week, let alone yesterday.
Another part of my brain was telling me that the police had invited my friends and I here today – they’d know we were innocent.
Only problem was, I’d given them a fake name, address and date of birth. What happens if they check and discover the details I’d given them belonged to a sixty year old white school teacher?

The elderly woman finished her scrutiny of me and moved on.
Five minutes later, she exited, and the police told all of us (apart from the original suspect) we were free to go.

I collected my £25 and beat a hasty retreat.
Never taken part in another identity parade since…..

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2013.
All Rights Reserved.