Twenty years ago, the world was a very different place for me. Watch this video as I give you my perspective of what happened on September 11th 2001 and how it changed the lives of people all over the world. Not always for the best.
The Faroese are a proud people, that much is evident. Yet their practice of slaughtering entire pods of pilot whales has come under scrutiny from the outside world, thanks mostly to the efforts of the Sea Shepherd organisation. The Faroese are not the only ones who ritualistically slaughter cetaceans, the most notable (or notorious) contemporary is the town of Taiji in Japan. However there are many other places this is happening in the world so you could forgive the Faroese or Taijians for feeling victimised, couldn’t you?
Well no. Sure there are violent and atrocious acts against animals, nature and other humans being committed all over the world. Here in the UK we still have the legacy (and illegally continued practice) of fox hunting with hounds which many people in these fair isles would agree is a barbaric and outdated past time that is nothing more than a blood sport. We should indeed be aware of all the other atrocities that are going on in the world and yes, we should be vocal about them also but this doesn’t mean that we should leave Taiji and the Faroe Islands to quietly go about their goulish business.
As globalisation marches forever forward and local traditions are being swept aside, some may argue that this means we should lay off the Faroese for their traditional slaughter. Yet just as the UK didn’t stand by the ‘tradition’ of hunting foxes with hounds neither should the World stand by and allow the ‘tradition’ of The Grind to continue in the Faroe Islands. Sure, for some in the UK, losing their ‘tradition’ of fox hunting still runs deep. The Countryside Alliance and those privileged few, who believe the ban should never have been implemented, were extremely vocal, sometimes violently so as they felt that their way of life was being attacked. Of course it wasn’t their way of life that was being attacked, it was their methods of ‘controlling’ the population of foxes. We are not telling the Faroese that they cannot hunt for food, we are telling them that their methods are nothing shy of barbaric overkill.
Should such traditions be kept alive when globalisation, by its very nature, means that rich western societies such as the Faroe Islands have plentiful food sourced from supermarkets? Of course the answer is no. There is no valid reason, logical or otherwise, why the Faroese should continue their murderous tradition just for traditions sake. This isn’t me being imperialistic, it’s called having a fucking heart.
While the vitriol towards the Faroe Islands seems justified to most decent folk I would urge against tarring the entire population with the same brush. I strongly believe that there are some Faroese who would rather not participate in the vicious cove drives. It is to this minority that we must appeal; be strong and make your own voices heard. Of course this will only happen if someone on that island shows the incredible strength and tenacity required to risk being ostracised by their own people. Yet one voice becomes two voices, two voices becomes four and so a movement grows.
Still the pressure that has been placed on the Faroese by the outside world is being felt by the islanders. Some have resorted to bully tactics to try to ward off anyone who dares speak against their blood lust for cetaceans. By targeting individuals via their emails, social media profiles and even posting negative reviews on their places of employment. These acts of cyber bullying may deter some from continuing to speak out against the atrocities in the Faroe Islands but I would encourage these people to not give in to these scare tactics. The islanders are resorting to such methods because, just like the Countryside Alliance and their cronies in England, they feel their way of life is being threatened.
If they feel their way of life is under threat then it means that the pressure is working. Even though the Danish government has illegally intervened and actively aided the Faroese in their murder sports, the tide is turning. Public outrage is winning over and the Faroe islands are starting to be hit where it hurts as tour companies and big business are beginning to cut ties with the islands. With continued pressure we could see an end to the slaughter of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands.
On the way to work the other day I had a bit of a rant…
Dale Vince is someone I very much want to like. He is a former New Age Traveller and a vegan, just the type of person who seems to have a good old story to tell. He is also an industrialist, founding Ecotricity, his renewable energy company. I like renewable energy, it’s nice and fluffy and helps reduce my carbon emissions meaning I can ride my motorcycles more. What’s more he has similar haircut to mine and is worried about the sustainability of life – like me. Yes he is someone I very much want to like.
So why do I find myself thinking that actually, this guy is a bit of a dick? Well I’ll come to that in a moment but first let me give you a bit of background on Dale’s company, Ecotricity. As a company that trades under the Green Energy banner it entices altruistic customers who don’t mind paying a premium for their energy requirements under the stipulation that the company invests in renewable energy with the profits. Sounds nice and fair doesn’t it? Well it hooked me and many others too, 155,398 people at the time of writing. The thought that I’m paying over the odds for my energy is easily reconciled as I am helping to invest in a greener future for us all. So far so good.
So Ecotricity = plucky, progressive, sustainability loving company that likes to challenge the status quo? Well I thought so right up until I learned that Dale donated £250,000 of Ecotricity’s cash to the Labour Party. You could say that this made me a little bit pissed off but that would be an understatement. Livid is closer but add a good dose of bemusement and you’ll be right on the money as to how I’m feeling right now. A Green Energy company donating a quarter of a million pounds to the Labour Party. It doesn’t quite compute and it seems that I’m not the only one who has taken offense to this move.
Within hours of making the announcement Ecotricity’s Facebook page was awash with comments from disgruntled customers just as confused, pissed off and bewildered as me. Of course the Labour faithful had also gotten a hold of the story too so there was the odd po-faced detrimental comment from them about the Green Party and the term “Vote Green Go Blue” was branded about without much thought. Though aside from the vitriol there were objective comments from both sides.
It might be true to say that a Tory/UKIP coalition government would be the worst result to come out of the election. This is the reason Dale Vince has given for his actions but there’s no strong evidence that a Labour/UKIP coalition is off the cards either. Which would really be the lesser of two evils? In the wake of an overwhelming UKIP result and a lackluster Lib Dem and Green turn out would Labour really choose not to seek a coalition with the purple party? Regardless of tactical voting how about the very issue that money that we the customers believed was to be invested in renewable energy was now lacing Miliband’s war chest?
Would I be as pissed off if they had donated the money to the Green Party? Probably not but issue remains, as a customer I did not expect my Green Energy company to be making its bed with a Labour government that refuses to condemn the practice of fracking. I expected this money to be invested in renewable energy. A quarter of a million pounds donation to a party I do not believe in because the owner of my energy company wants to try to block the Tories from forming a consecutive government? No thank you. If Dale Vince wanted to donate money to Labour he should have done so with his own money. For a Green Energy company boss to alienate his customers who may vote any other way than Labour (especially the Greens) is a huge faux pas that must be up there with Gerald Ratner?
Thanks for reading, please feel free to lend me your thoughts.
I love Stephen Fry and I love Russell Brand. They are incredible human beings whose views and beliefs often overlap with those of my own. I was therefore somewhat taken back when good old Rusty Rockets took offense over Stephen Fry’s comments during an interview on RTE, an Irish Public Service TV channel. He was so enraged that he made Fry the subject of his regular YouTube programme ‘The Trews’ where he laid into Fry and his blasphemous ways.
Well OK it didn’t quite happen like that, in fact Brand was actually quite benign. His Fox News baiting persona was turned down to disappointed friend mode as he made his case on the subject of spirituality. When it comes to spirituality and religious beliefs I personally think “each to their own” and as long as they are not preaching hate or shouting down ‘sinners’ in the street like the old manic street preacher (no not James Dean Bradfield) who used to hail abuse at my gang of mates as we walked through Dunstable town centre.
It seemed that Brand had taken Fry’s public slamming of a wicked and ruthless ‘God’ to heart and went on the offensive as he turned into a spiritualist zealot delving into questions that had no real answers, logical or otherwise. As much as he was dismantling traditional religious dogma he was in turn pedalling his own spiritual theory and ideology. It was bizarre thing for me to watch and made for uncomfortable viewing.
I like Brand and his feral cat like persona. He is a champion of many good causes and I applaud the way he exposes the flaws in the political systems across the globe. I find myself agreeing with his views on the redistribution of wealth, that a change is needed in our political system and that the decriminalisation and destigmatization of drugs and their users can only lead to improvements in public health and treatment of addiction. For these I applaud his efforts though I am not sure I agree with his simplistic belief in an anarchy system. I don’t think a system where people self-govern would really work in today’s overcrowded world.
I like Fry too. He has done a lot to highlight the plights of depression and like Brand, drug addiction. For sheer entertainment value Fry is a hoot in whatever I’ve seen him in, be it on panel shows or in character. It’s difficult not to love such an apologetic persona. Listening to his answers given to Gay Byrne (the RTE host) I thought what he said was more than justified in the context of the interview. When probed further about spirituality I felt that Fry was adequate in his response, especially as it seemed he was being backed into a corner a little by Byrne.
As much as I would like to take this opportunity to analyse and probe what Brand stated in regards to his spiritual ‘truth’, I fear I would only be doing the same Brand did to Fry. Though Brand’s polite attack on Fry has obviously grieved me I feel it would be hypocritical of me to counter Brand’s spiritualist notions phrase by phrase. Personally I don’t have issue with what Mr Brand does or doesn’t believe in and judging by Fry’s interview I doubt that he does either.
It’s not just Brand who has zoned in on Fry’s comments. Pavan Dhaliwal of the Independent has used Fry’s comments on the subject to highlight the fact that not everybody around the world enjoys the same level of free speech as we do in the UK. Indeed even in Ireland, where the interview took place, there are some rather antiquated laws regarding blasphemy which Fry could well be in breach of. Though it’s highly unlikely that Fry would see any recourse for his blasphemous rantings (other than a whole Russell Brand Trews episode dedicated to the subject) others around the world are not so lucky. As Dhaliwal’s article points out in Saudi Arabia, Muslim blogger Raif Badawi was arrested on a charge for the crime of insulting Islam by running a website that criticized religious leaders. He was sentenced to ten years imprisonment and one thousand lashes. She also notes that Blasphemy is illegal in 49 countries. So be careful what you say when you’re abroad!
It seems though that Fry saw the funny side and responded to The Trews episode with his trademark wit on Twitter. Brand responded and it looks like all is forgiven. But the whole debarkle has raised a valid point. In the UK we must be thankful that the worst that can happen for being a little blasphemous on UK soil is you might rile a few angry religious leaders and receive a Russell Brand Trews inquisition. I’ll leave you with this little thought that sums up my beliefs; everything in nature is so awe inspiring and incredible why do we need to invent something which explains it?
Watch the interview:
Watch The Trews:
Read the article:
If the Iron Lady had a Heart
When the country was an empty kettle
There arose a woman made of metal
And tore unions apart
This lady’s not for turning
But don’t you be presuming
She didn’t have a heart
She wasn’t tender or too gentle
And never sentimental
When she closed the mine shafts
She was friends with Ronald Reagan
And shifty as a Raven
It was a thankless task
With a majority of a few
Won election number two
There was a beat
In the street
And an awful big commotion
With Poll Tax put in motion
A country torn apart
She was thrown out as our skipper
Cried when her party ripped her
And proved she had a heart
Baroness Thatcher 1925 – 2013
Loved, hated, respected and despised if there’s ever anyone to divide opinion it was her. Whatever your thoughts on The Iron Lady she made some good decisions and bad ones just like any Premier. She defended the Falklands from the Argies then sold out the miners but she never went to war based on lies like Tony Blair did. If any post-war PM should be universally hated it is the UK Prime Minister from 1997-2007.
Things Were Better in the Nineties
Things were better in the nineties I’ve come to appreciate
‘Cus way back when I was a bratty little sprog full of love and hate
Emotions were mountains and valleys, peaks and troughs
And most retarded townies thought I was a greebo goth
Of course they were just like me – misunderstood