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 The Special Immigration Appeals Commission rescinded his bail, stating he had not broken bail conditions, but “might do at some time in the future”.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.

Religion – The Greatest Scam on Earth.

As one who has been deeply religious in the past, I’ve come to the conclusion over the years that religion as it exists today is a sham.

I have no problem with people practicing their chosen religion.

After all, I was once an evangelical Christian, inviting people off the street around to my house for Bible study. Spent years reading the Bible from cover to cover.

My view at the time was if you don’t follow the Bible and the word of God, you’re going to Hell. Period.
After years of studying the Bible, I’ve come to the conclusion that all that religion does is makes the people at the very top rich.

Most major religions own stocks, shares and land. The Church Commission, for example, (a body set up by the Church of England) manages an investment fund of some £5.2 billion, held mainly in property and shares)

And while I appreciate that of the major religions there is a token effort to maybe feed the poor and help the needy, religion seems to exist nowadays to make money – lots of it.

In the years I went to church, it was a given that you would put your hard-earned cash in the collection plate, the more the merrier.

My Church Elders lived in huge mansions and drove the latest cars.
No mention of how much they contributed.

It occurs to me that if you were a criminal, setting up a church would be an ideal way to launder money – dirty money gets “donated,” clean money comes out. Tax free.

As I immersed myself deeper into the Bible, I had questions – lots of them:

Why no mention of dinosaurs in the bible?
If Adam and Eve were the first humans on the planet, where did everyone else come from?
If the Great Flood wiped out everyone apart from Noah and his clan, how did they repopulate the earth?
If Jesus was nailed to the cross through his hands, would that have been enough to support the weight of his body? (There is a train of thought which suggests the Romans hammered nails in through the victim’s wrists. Nails through the hands would tear due to the weight of the human body)

In response to these questions, I was told that the Bible was not to be interpreted literally.
All you need is faith.
And presumably, money.

All religious institutions need money. Your money. Year after year after year.

I realize that buildings need to be maintained. Religious leaders aren’t teaching the Word of God for free.
Why should they, when willing flocks attending once a week provide plentiful tax-free funds?

Most of the people I speak to about religion profess to belonging to some religious group as a form of identity.

But when I ask what defines them as belonging to that particular religious group, their answers often fall flat.

Often membership of that particular group in their eyes doesn’t require them to attend any services or sermons at their particular religious institution, they don’t really read their particular Holy Book, and aren’t too hot on spreading the Word of their particular religion.

They are a Christian/Muslim/Sikh/Catholic/Protestant because they are. So there.

It also occurs to me when people try to justify killing and bombing other humans (often with the justification that God is on their side – George W. Bush? – ) or the well documented cases of priests interfering with children, if religion was truly believed and followed by people at the very top, none of these things would take place. Not with the true threat of eternal damnation to look forward to.

In closing, I respect everyone’s right to follow their chosen religion, if in turn they respect my right not to….

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

 

The Homeless Issue

Often in society today, it’s all too easy to walk past the homeless person begging on the street without giving them a second glance.

I’ve heard various opinions on this issue: they should get a job, they choose to be homeless, and these people want to live on benefits.

Many years ago, for reasons I won’t go into, I was homeless.

I spent a number of years squatting in Hackney, East London – at the time one of the most deprived boroughs in London.

And when I say squatting, I don’t mean the film version depicted in the movie “Trainspotting.”

Admittedly, never progressed to the begging stage, but I mean real squatting – living in mostly rundown council properties with no running water, holes in the roof, cement poured down the toilet by the local authority, and no control over who you actually lived with.

On top of this, I developed a serious alcohol habit, and if you didn’t wash for a week, there were far more pressing issues – such as, would I be sleeping under a roof that week, or on a park bench?

I’ve lived with heroin addicts, drug dealers, National Front admirers, rapists, and spent far more time than I wanted to resuscitating people after heroin overdoses.

While living this lifestyle, I’ve been arrested by police carrying out an illegal eviction while barely out of my teens, told by disgruntled neighbours that unless we moved immediately, they would burn the house down while we slept, and had to deal with one of my suicidal housemates actually setting fire to a flat while I was sleeping.

But I digress.

In Hackney at the time, there were many empty properties.
Many of these stayed empty for years.
All this while the housing list got steadily longer.

All the time I was squatting, I asked myself if we could squat property after empty property, why was I seeing on the news there weren’t enough houses to go around?

I’ve been fortunate to have lived in a lot of locations all over the UK, and witnessed many boarded up council houses, often with familiar steel grills covering door and windows.

In light of this, I firmly believe that here in the UK, no one needs to be homeless.
If there truly wasn’t enough housing stock to go around, I and others wouldn’t have been able to squat for as long as we did.

The one thing I will take from those days is this: when I was homeless and getting food from soup kitchens, church handouts and literally stealing discarded food from skips at the back of Marks & Spencer, people view you a little different.

There have been times during this period when I seriously contemplated suicide – even got to the stage of having knife in hand, deciding which wrist to cut first.
Luckily, still here.

Since then, I’ve spent the past 20 years working in care, and people’s perspective changes.
People that talk to me now probably wouldn’t have given me the time of day then.
We are so quick to judge others on race, appearance, disability, circumstance, sexuality.

None of this really has a bearing on what kind of person you really are.

Following on from this, I’m often asked why I’m so calm nowadays.

The answer is simple: My past has been filled with witnessing people injecting heroin and overdosing, suicide attempts being brought to my attention (complete with spurting blood), drunken people trying to stab me, and regular stop and searches by the police.

After all those experiences, I really don’t have anything now to get upset about.
So while I’ve watched people over the years do anything to climb the career ladder, or fuck someone over to get that promotion or pay rise, or invest all their time in material things, I’ve come to realize that life is far more important than that.

Some things stay with you.

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2012.
All Rights Reserved.

What men think women want, and what women really want…..

PART 1

As men, we are programmed to almost fear women.
We put them on pedestals; worship them and pretty much go out of our way to do everything for them.

This method is flawed.

A friend of mine a while ago was going out with this woman. She’d had a history of going out with “undesirable” men before she met him.

My friend took this onboard, and by the time she’d finished with him, he was washing her car, doing her shopping, giving her lifts at all hours, and walking her dog.

So she left him.

Inevitably, my friend and I ended up at the pub, where he drowned his sorrows, and picked over the loss of his former relationship.

“But I did everything for her,” he told me.

Which was precisely the reason she left.

Men have been convinced for years that what women really want is a nice guy.
Someone who’ll do everything for them, compliment them daily, and ring them often to tell how they feel, and is in touch with his inner sensitive self.

The truth of the matter is that no woman has ever been attracted by a bloke she can boss around.
You might be together for a little while, but eventually she’ll be bored out of her mind.

Suddenly you’ve become the predictable guy who comes home from work at 6pm every evening, conversation with you is repetitive, arguments become more frequent, and sex goes out of the window.

And if a woman EVER tells you that you are such a nice guy, or a good friend, you’ve blown it.
You’ve been placed in the Friend Zone, and you probably aren’t coming back from that.

A lot of men seem to think that women go for looks, power and money.
For some women, maybe.
And obviously no woman is going to hook up with a guy she doesn’t have some attraction for.

But for the most part, women are looking for something that most men don’t get.
As someone who has spent a great deal of time over the years talking to my female friends about these issues, what I have learned is the legendary list of things that have been burned into men brains regarding what women want in a guy should be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt.

There is a danger this blog is going to turn into a full length novel, so I’ll wrap this up until part two.
In closing:

Men think you have to be:

Rich
Sensitive
Caring
Excessively good-looking
Complimentary
Attentive to her every need.

PART 2

Some women go out with guys, and automatically think of ways to “improve” him.
Some guys resist, but what normally happens is the bloke will gradually go along with this.
Some will change their dress sense, phone their woman to tell her when they’re coming back from work, text their partners daily to see how their day is – the list goes on.

But what most men fail to realize is – unless you are some kind of caveman who scratches his nuts in public – this is a TEST.

Your woman is actively testing you.
This is not always a conscious decision on her part.
She may not even realize she is doing this.

And through these tests, she’ll find out how argumentative, petty, jealous, and pliable you are.

And once she’s finished finding out how much she can influence your emotional state, she’ll be off.

Usually off into the arms of a bloke who’s nothing like you.

So if you get to the point where as a bloke you’re overly paranoid, critical, argumentative, or a bit of a pussy, your woman WILL leave.

Maybe not straight away, but she’s already planning her exit strategy – a way of extracting herself with minimum fallout.

The bloke, on the other hand, will usually ring or text her repeatedly, begging for a second chance.

There will probably be a promise from the guy to “change.”
It’ll be different this time.

All this begging, pleading and promises ultimately leads to the bloke pushing his former girlfriend further away.

An alternative situation is that woman meets man.
Man is confident, self-assured and has a certain air about him.
Woman is intrigued, a relationship begins.

Over time, man slowly begins to change because he believes deep down the woman wants him to.

He slowly begins to cater to her every whim.

Asks her for permission to get intimate, spends an hour stroking her arm on the settee as a prelude to sex.
She, on the other hand, is wishing that one day she’d come home from work, he’d rip the clothes from her body in an explosion of passion.

That doesn’t happen, she no longer feels sexy enough for him, arguments begin, and all is lost.

Of course, I’ve simplified and condensed this process, but you get the picture.

In closing, a list of things that men as a rule, shouldn’t do.

1) Argue, or bitch constantly how bad your life is.
Pointless. Doesn’t work – and all she’ll remember is all the times you argued.
You have enough arguments, she won’t remember the good times.
And if you spend all your time at home constantly bitching about how hard you have it at work, she’ll be bored out of her mind

2) Agree with everything or do everything for her.
Sometimes women want to hear the word “No.”

Where’s the challenge if you blindly agree with everything that comes out of her mouth?

If you disagree, say so. But be nice about it.
As for doing everything she demands, forget it. Reasonable requests sure.

Outrageous demands are a test.
Say no, and leave it at that.
Blokes who set themselves up as doormats get women’s feet wiped on them and left.

3) Constant phone calls and texts to find out how her day is going.
If you’ve kissed her goodbye in the morning, you really don’t need to be ringing her constantly throughout the day.
Now she thinks you’re checking up on her.

4) Jealously.
Some women do actually like a bit of jealousy, prove you value her as a girlfriend or wife, or whatever.

But there’s a fine line between mild jealously, and stalking her after she’s gone out with some friends to see who she’s been talking to.

4) Seeing an attractive woman at a bar or club, and spending the entire night telling her how gorgeous she is.
Attractive women hear this all the time. Everyone likes a compliment, but she’s heard yours from various guys over and over again.
If something original, and witty comes out of your mouth, this is a lot better than over the top, predictable compliments.

5) Changing purely because she demands it.
This is a TEST.
If you like football, continue watching.
If you don’t like wearing ties, don’t wear one.
If you like playing “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” continue.
The alternative is she’ll change you into a bloke even she doesn’t want.
You have been warned…..

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2012.
All rights reserved.

“They’re Taking Our Jobs…”

One afternoon I was walking through the town centre, doing what will be depressingly familiar to millions: taking my hard-earned cash and giving it to various utility companies.
Needless to say, I wasn’t in the best of moods.
I passed the typical canvassers on the way to the cashpoint, and on the way back, one of them (a woman in her 50′s) stopped me, and asked me to sign her petition.

What is it a petition for? I asked.

“It’s a petition against our continued membership of the European Union,” was the reply.

“And why are you against this?” I asked.

The woman in front of me looked a little confused. Why couldn’t I just sign the damned petition?

“Erm,” she said. “Let me just get my more experienced colleague.”

Experienced? I wasn’t asking for an all over massage – just a simple query about her views.
Her colleague came over (a woman who looked to be about in her late 60′s). She explained that they were collecting signatures on behalf of UKIP.
She went on to tell me that because of our continued membership of the E.U, the country was going to the dogs, and it was time to reclaim it.

Reclaim it from who, exactly?

She told me that life was different in her day, and we were continually being dictated to by Brussels, and that amount of money that we paid into the E.U needed to be stopped.

Our borders were open and ever-increasing numbers of immigrants were coming over.

I stopped her before she could utter the immortal line “And they’re taking our jobs.”

Where I live, there are a few Polish people.
In one novelty store in the town centre there are two Polish girls employed behind the tills. They are probably not earning anywhere near the same wage as me, and every time I walk past this store, it upsets me that they have taken this job.
I was going to apply for this job, it was meant to be me serving customers all day. Standing up all day.
I feel deprived.

Please!

I asked the UKIP woman how she felt about the fact that our government squandered money daily.
Wars cost money – lots of it.
MP’s large inflation busting pay rises, pensions and “expenses” costs money.

Her response was the E.U was the cause of our problems.
Without the EU, we wouldn’t be burdened with forthcoming tax increases to the tune of over £8000 per person.

I won’t bore you with the rest of this conversation, but I’ve heard this argument before:
We are being overrun with immigrants, and a lot of them don’t speak English.

I’ve lived all over the UK, and had neighbours born in this country who spoke perfect English – who still didn’t talk to me.

Walk around any major city, a lot of native English speakers.
If you follow this argument, with all these people speaking english, I shouldn’t be able to move for people wanting to engage me in conversation.

Right!

With the “keep yourself to yourself” society we live in, if all immigrants spoke perfect English, chances are nobody would talk to them anyway…

These immigrants are taking our jobs? I’ve seen people come over taking jobs as road sweepers, cafe workers, market stall workers, care workers, hotel workers, fruit pickers, decorators.

I don’t remember applying for any of these jobs.
If a non-English speaking immigrant worker manages to steal your road sweeping job from under your nose, then you are clearly shit at your job…

I work with a few foreign nationals.
I’m still in employment, they haven’t stolen my job, I haven’t become disadvantaged – so where does this rather feeble “They’re taking our jobs” argument come from?

Anyway, I digress.
The UKIP woman (accepting that I wasn’t going to sign her petition) handed me a booklet entitled “The European Union Project: What is it all about?”

This booklet currently resides in my bathroom, just in case I run out of toilet paper….

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2012.
All rights reserved.

 

“The Trouble With Royal Mail…..”

I realise that postmen and women at the moment are getting a bad press.

Post in large parts of the UK no longer gets delivered at 8 or 9 in the morning – in fact, I’m lucky to see my post anytime before 3pm.

I also realise that Royal Mail, in the quest for even greater profits, have increased the workload of the average postie while simultaneously not providing additional money or time for these extra deliveries.

So my postie is under slightly more pressure than before, but that doesn’t explain why for the last two months my postman had simply given up actually posting ANYTHING through my door.

I’d come back from work to find all sorts of letters dumped on my doorstep.
Stuff I’d ordered online were similarly dumped.

Good job I live in a fairly quiet street – in some areas I’ve lived in these items would have been stolen long before I returned from work.

One afternoon, whilst I was enjoying a well deserved day off from work, I heard the unmistakable sound of post hitting the ground outside my front door.

I pulled on my trainers, threw on a shirt, and went out to have a quiet chat with my Royal Mail representative:

ME: “Excuse me mate, don’t want to be rude, but can you explain why you’ve been dumping my post on my doorstep, instead of actually posting it?”

My postman looked more like a postboy – he looked about 18 and it was debatable as to whether he’d started shaving yet.

He said, “Huh? What number do you live at?”

At this point, I thought: is he being selective about which houses he actually delivers to?

I said, “It doesn’t matter what number I live at. I’d appreciate it if you actually post my letters. I’ve ordered stuff from Amazon and I don’t appreciate it when I come home to find these things on my doorstep.”

He said, “Um. One of the doors on this road has brushes in the letterbox that stop me pushing the post all the way through.”

He was talking about the brush draught excluders which are installed in quite a few British letter boxes.

“That’s all very well,” I said. “But the previous postman never had a problem, and anyway – that same excuse doesn’t work with bulky packages, now does it? In future, if there’s something you can’t post – knock. If I’m not in, leave the little card like you are supposed to and I’ll go and pick it up from the sorting office. But I don’t want to have this conversation with you again.”

At this point, he looked like he was going to cry.
“It won’t happen again,” he said, and put out his hand for me to shake.
After I had shaken it, and strolled away, I reflected on the fact that he had looked a little frightened while I was talking to him.
Damn! I had almost scared myself!…

The conclusion to this story is now my post gets delivered through my letterbox, and I don’t have to have further words with the postman…

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2012.
All rights reserved.

 

Race, and the BNP

I, like a lot of the population of the UK, watched the BBC TV broadcast “Question Time” (Originally transmitted on 22 October 2009).

Unsurprisingly, not a big fan of the BNP.

I think Nick Griffin (jumped-up leader of the BNP) is an ill-educated, twisted, arsehole.

Going against my better judgement, I paid a visit to their website.
Their immigration section made for interesting reading:

“Given current demographic trends, we, the indigenous British people, will become an ethnic minority in our own country well within sixty years – and most likely sooner.

The vast majority of these foreign-born residents are of Third World extraction.
According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics, at least eleven percent of all people living in Britain today were born overseas.
This figure does not include their second or third generation children.

All these facts point inexorably to the overwhelming and extinguishing of Britain and British identity under a tsunami of immigration.

To ensure that this does not happen, and that the British people retain their homeland and identity, we call for an immediate halt to all further immigration, the immediate deportation of criminal and illegal immigrants, and the introduction of a system of voluntary resettlement whereby those immigrants who are legally here will be afforded the opportunity to return to their lands of ethnic origin assisted by a generous financial incentives both for individuals and for the countries in question.

We will abolish the ‘positive discrimination’ schemes that have made white Britons second-class citizens.
We will also clamp down on the flood of ‘asylum seekers’, all of whom are either bogus or can find refuge much nearer their home countries.

The BNP’s policy is to:
– Deport all the two million plus who are here illegally;
– Deport all those who commit crimes and whose original nationality was not British;
– Review all recent grants of residence or citizenship to ensure they are still appropriate;
– Offer generous grants to those of foreign descent resident here who wish to leave permanently;

– Stop all new immigration except for exceptional cases;
– Reject all asylum seekers who passed safe countries on their way to Britain
Immigration is out of control. Britain’s population is now over 60 million and rising, solely due to immigration. Not only is Britain increasingly overcrowded, but the fact is that a country is the product of its people and if you change the people you inevitably change the nature of the country.

We want Britain to remain – or return to – the way it has traditionally been. We accept that Britain always will have ethnic minorities and have no problem with this as long as they remain minorities and do not change nor seek to change the fundamental culture and identity of the indigenous peoples of the British Isles.

The current open-door policy and unrestricted, uncontrolled immigration is leading to higher crime rates, demand for more housing (driving prices out of the reach of young people), severe extra strain on the environment, traffic congestion, longer hospital waiting lists, lower educational standards, higher income taxes, lower wages, higher unemployment, loss of British identity, a breakdown in community spirit, more restrictive policing, higher council taxes, a shortage of council homes, higher levels of stress and unhappiness and a more atomised society.”

Hmmm.

“Offer generous grants to those of foreign descent resident here who wish to leave permanently?”

I was born in the UK, but I’m pretty sure that if the BNP somehow managed to worm their way into power, I’d somehow be shipped off to Jamaica, where my parents were born, where obviously I’d slot right in.

It is very easy to blame EVERYTHING on immigration, but this got me thinking about a conversation I’d had a while back with friends:

Is racism still widespread in Britain?

From my perspective, racism is still alive and kicking in this country.

It’s far more subtle than it used to be, and people who have never experienced racism often adopt the approach that if it hasn’t affected them personally, it clearly cannot exist.

I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve been stopped and searched by the police (and, yes I’ve heard the argument that the police are just doing their job – if people have to suffer the indignity of being searched for drugs or weapons, it all goes towards making the streets safer).

Interesting argument – but if it hasn’t happened to you consistently, you won’t know how this feels – and I’m not even going to go into the statistic that notes that young black males are 8 times more likely to be stopped and searched than their white counterparts.
Doesn’t feel like a very equal society to me.

When I got past my teenage years, a rather strange thing happened.
Often I’d be walking down the street and I’d notice some people who were walking towards me did one of two things: either they’d approach clutching their handbags or other belongings, or they would cross over the street and cross back again once they had passed me. My initial response was one of anger – after all, I’m not a criminal, had never robbed anyone, never carried a knife, never handled a gun.

After anger, I started getting a little philosophical.
I found myself adopting a neutral open expression.
Maybe if these misguided people saw the non-threatening nature of my walk, posture, and face, they wouldn’t feel so threatened.

Didn’t work. I was still black.

This experience still happens today.
Not every day – granted – but enough for me to notice.
I sigh to myself and tell myself that they have been conditioned to believe that I, as a young black male, am a potential mugger/rapist/murderer.
It’s not their fault, they are making judgments according to what they were told, what they have read in the newspaper.

Anyway, whilst I’m sure the vast majority of the British public are well-informed individuals who don’t hold these views, anyone who has been in a mixed relationship will tell you how some people will stare at them in the street.
Often, words are not spoken, but the overall thought is there.

Certain parts of the media like to dehumanize people.
The reason for this is once you give somebody a particular label, the public tends to pay less attention to how we treat them.
If you class someone as an “insurgent” in matters of “war”, doesn’t matter if you torture, humiliate or kill them. They deserved it anyway.

Similarly, if you brand someone a fundamental “Islamic Al-Qaeda sympathizer”, no one cares if you take away their civil liberties and detain them for years without access to legal representation.
Label someone as a “Yardie” and they are obviously a gun-toting, drug running Jamaican who should be taken off the street immediately.

Often, evidence is not required.
If the government says that person is a threat, they must be.

So you get to the point where if we are told something often enough we start to take it as fact:

“We are overrun with immigrants who are being allocated all available government housing”
“Crime is on the increase, and it’s all down to immigration”
“There is an impending terrorist threat any day now…”

Scaring the population into submission makes it easier for the government to bring in a whole range of new draconian laws.
You are told that these laws are being implemented for your own good, to keep YOU safe.
They are going to be used against the terrorists and other criminals.
If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

What people fail to realize is that these same laws being brought in could one day be used against YOU.

“But I’m not a criminal”, I hear you cry.

Tell that to some of the people detained at Guantanamo Bay…
Scooped up, detained without charge, (often for years) denied independent legal representation, and having your fate decided by the same people who are your captors.
Some justice.

All brought about because someone decided that this person was a terrorist, that person was a criminal.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve no doubt that amongst the innocent incarcerated in Cuba, there are some who are not so innocent.
But locking up a huge number of people on this basis is just plain wrong.
Think it’s bad now?

Imagine what it would be like if we elected the BNP to government…

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2012.
All rights reserved.

The Ways Of Women Are Often Mysterious….

I was in a shoe shop with a former girlfriend not so long ago.

Not remarkable in itself, I admit.
What was remarkable was looking at all the other blokes in the shop who were obviously dragged there by their women.

We all wore the same weary expression.
Knowing looks were exchanged, nods swapped.

I could feel their pain.

My woman was in the process of trying on various pairs of shoes, asking my opinion on each one, even though she knows I am useless at this.

If I liked women’s shoes that much, I’d be wearing them.
My response was carefully measured.

“They’re ok.”

This non-committal answer wasn’t enough to save me, however.

“What do you mean Ok?”

“I mean they’re Ok,” I said. “If you like them, buy them.”

“You don’t like them, do you?”

Somehow my woman had managed to tell me both what my opinion was, and ask me what my opinion was.
No mean feat…

Ever consistent, I mumbled, “They’re ok.”

To deflect from an impending domestic, I picked up a shiny gold pair. “How about these?”

She gave me a look that could only be described as withering.

“They’d make me look like a hooker.”

I considered telling her that hookers are people too, but decided not to.

At this point she tried on yet another pair of shoes.

I say “pair,” but women have a strange habit of trying on one shoe.

So there she was, walking around with her own shoe on one foot, and the shop’s shoe on the other.
She asked me what I thought.
She really wanted a response considering she was hobbling around in odd shoes?

“Hmmm,” she said, “It’s not my size, but I can make it fit.”

So not only is she wearing odd shoes, but one of those is a size too small.

I suspected I’d be here for the long haul.
At this point, I wanted a chair, and a newspaper.
A beer wouldn’t go amiss either.

Why don’t they have comfy sofas in women’s clothes shops?
That way, men could have a lie down while the women descended on the merchandise.

Me?

Shopping is a necessity – a chore to be undertaken when those much-loved jeans you’ve had for ten years begin to let in a breeze that they previously didn’t.

To some women, shopping is a business, an activity to be relished, looked forward to, even.

Why go to a few shops in the high street when you can spend several hours visiting them all?

Like I said, the ways of women are often mysterious….

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2012.
All rights reserved.

The Art Of Tipping

When I was younger, I used to tip everyone.

Waitresses, taxi drivers, the person who carries your bags into the hotel.

Now I’m bit more selective – especially with taxi drivers.

In my job, invariably I’ll find myself in the back of a taxi. The typical conversation is as follows:

Me: (Climbing in) “Alright mate.”

Taxi Driver: “Hello Sir. Where are you off to?”

Me: “I’m going to (insert destination).”

At this point I’m thinking:
I told your controller where I was going when I booked the taxi. Don’t you guys talk?

Him: “So, what do you do for a living?”

Me: “I work in care.”
At this stage, I’m wishing he’d just shut the fuck up and drive. I consider inserting my earphones and putting on my Ipod.

I’m aware that most people automatically ask taxi drivers if they’ve been busy.
I don’t.
I don’t care if they’ve been busy, not my concern.

At the end of our destination, the taxi driver stops the car, turns to me, and says:

“How much you normally pay?”

I’m tempted to ask: “Before or after the blow job?” but don’t think this would go down too well.

Taxi drivers ask this question to see if you know how much your journey normally costs.
If you don’t, you’re either stupid, or a tourist.

I look into space, as if I’m mulling over the question.
We’ve been driving for around 10 minutes.
This journey normally costs £10.

“Two pounds,” I said.

Him: “No, I don’t think so.”

Me: “Why did you ask then? If you don’t know prices, then maybe you should be doing a different job.”

Exit taxi.

Ok, I made that last bit up.
But that’s what I wish I had said.
Still no tip for him though…

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2012.
All rights reserved.