The Only Way Is Essex really is 1984

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The novel 1984, written years before by a man who had a fear, a fear that spread down and around the generations and would be remembered forever. The fear that one-day humans would be monitored and examined by the leadership to ensure conformation and faith would maintain. In reality 1984 was reconstructed in Germany under a Hitler regime, where phone calls were hacked, witch-hunts were conducted and people were caught, tortured and murdered due to their lifestyle. This dictatorship was shut down and civilizations vowed to never recreate that monstrosity.

However modern day pop culture and the massive growth of capitalism has seen television companies recreate the 1984 concept as way to create commercialism in the form of mindless, thoughtless television. The Only Way is Essex highlights everything that George Orwell hates about future society, as we sit and watch insignificant people gossip and bitch about their ‘friends’ in a supposedly humorous way.

The ‘reality stars’, as we like to call them are supposed to convince their viewers and fans that everything they say, do, eat and buy is genuine. However it is impossible to buy when their acting skills are about as efficient as a bucket with holes in. The squeaking laughter, the tears and the champagne thrown in peoples faces we all know has been constructed by the producers in a bid to make ordinary, mundane lives seem even mildly entertaining. Taking a moment to imagine how ‘towie’ would be, had it not been so scripted, all I can picture is people waking up, going to work and going to bed, with the possibility of drinking cocktails on a weekend. If it were not for the fake tan, lack of geographical knowledge and massive cars and houses the show would resemble pretty much anybody elses ordinary life.

Every single cast member of the show is supposed to conform to a stereotype that relates to Essex; lack of knowledge of basic skills, a love of fake tan, love-rat boyfriends, fake boobs, fake tan and fake hair. Now this is all fine if it didn’t encourage young girls to idolize these characters. As soon as someone is put on television they immediately become a person children can idolize. Why is society encouraging children to behave look up to these kinds of women? Don’t we owe the future generation at least a glimmer of hope that they can make a success of their lives?  Not only is it encouraging minds that are yet to be molded that they should look and act a certain way but it also tells them to remain shallow minded; see a stereotype and generalize it and not aim to be superb, out of the box and individual.

I don’t understand also, how people who stand in front of camera, humiliating themselves and doing not a lot else get to receive some kind of celebrity status. Taking up the celebrity pages on newspapers that give a shit, alongside actually influencial people such as filmstars, politicians and musicians is Lauren Goodger who ‘just stepped in a puddle’. The  ‘stars’ of the show have gone onto bigger and better things, earning a lot of money and working very little simply because they were handed an opportunity for fame, whilst the rest of us have to work forever, in mundane jobs, grafting and grasping simply to hold onto some dignity. 

1984 exists in our society and there is nothing we can do about it

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So we were sitting in our journalism lesson yesterday discussing employment for a newspaper or magazine or whatever publication it is and it reminded me of just what a ‘room 101′ society were actually turning into. I wrote a piece the other day about how the novel 1984 actually created a fear within people and is something known to everyone; even those who never read the book. However the likes of things like ‘towie’ are actually allowing us to run some kind of ‘big brother’ society. Although this is only television, it is starting to creep into out everyday lives, with things like Facebook and twitter etc. Both incredibly good platforms for having an opinion, socialising with old and new friends, and seeing what is going on in the world, however the idea that potential employers will look at your social networking sites is fucking terrifying.

Since when did who you follow on twitter or who you have a picture with on Facebook affect your employability? Why is it that your social life and opinion becomes more important then the work you produce? 100 years ago, before computers and before the internet people were in a much better position. You could fund nuclear weapon factories with your inherited billions or support terrorist training organisations, yet you could still become a special advisor to the secretary of defence because nobody would know. However now, if you get caught drinking alco-pops on facebook by your would-be-could-be boss then suddenly your contribution is no longer good enough.

It’s just a horrendous thought, knowing something written as a theory behind a dictatorship, something which struck fear in the masses is actually now becoming relevant to this society. George Orwell is clearly some kind of psychic because he hit the nail on the head with that novel…

Sochi Olympics

Russia calls itself ‘not-communist’ and Putins sits on his throne and assumes both his allies and enemies believe him when he says he is running an honest country. It’s no secret that the entire olympics has been neither ‘honest nor fair’ as Putin claims it to be and the corruption of his empire is an infamous presence. However, to me it seems as though the true extent of the situation is overlooked. I have this theory, a conspiracy if you will that the entire olympics is made up and everything we are seeing is a hologram. 

Russia remind me of North Korea, in the way they lie and control their citizens and I think the olympic footage has been de constructed to prove Russia’s success. Although currently, they are not top of the medal leaderboard, they will be by the end of next week. Once when I was little my mum convinced me the North Korean World Cup Football Team was in fact the army who were recruited by the government and although I do not believe this is the case for the Russian Olympic team, I do feel as though there are many methods being used to control and manipulate super powers, allies and their own people. 

The fifth Olympic ring represents America and woah, how convenient, the most powerful country in the world with a president who refuses to attend their games; their light fails to shine bright and illuminate their presence. Doesn’t seem that coincidental/accidental to me. In a bid to make America look weak they have basically stuck their middle finger up and in the most childish way possible, attempted to delete their presence from the Olympic Union.

Do we need justice for Edward Snowden?

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I know its a little late considering the media coverage surrounding Edward Snowden blew over a while back, but i can’t stop thinking about the way it was dealt with. Obviously stealing top secret government documents is a crime and so the intention to imprison him is fair enough. However, if they are going to call the revelation of the these documents a crime, it just seems wrong that they are still being read, uncovered and used to criminalise people.

The ‘top secret’ documents, removed from the public eye, and branded evidence, cause and outcome of a crime should then be given back to the government without being read. Because contents of these documents have been absorbed by the people who say it was wrong in the first place, these people should then not be criminalising Snowden.

As Snowden was asked to present evidence against the US regarding the phone hacking of Angela Merkel in Germany, it immediately makes his behaviour creditable and therefore almost un-punishable. If they’re going to use the secret documents for a good cause, they should surely be thanking Snowden shouldn’t they?

The point I’m trying to make is, if Edward Snowden did commit a crime, (which all the negative consequences of his actions justify) the documents therefore should have been destroyed or returned to the government, instead of being used to criminalise. If they were going to do read through the contents of the ‘secret documents’, Snowden should not be imprisoned as, if the contents reveal illegal wrong-doings. actually that makes Snowden’s behaviour rewardable.

For him not to be able to enter his own country for fear of arrest, seems ludicrous considering the justice his crime brought. I feel as though he should have a lot more support behind him from people with influence; especially from those who his uncoverings helped.

JUSTICE

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Every day in our country, crimes occur and every day trust in the judicial system is maintained by a majority of Brits. However recently in the news there has been a lot of stories about Countries who don’t have any kind of working, trusted judicial system. The Observer on Sunday covered a story about a British man who was beaten and then shot to death in Sri Lanka allegedly by an associate to the President, after he complained of harassment his wife was receiving from local men in a restaurant. Even though British authorities were made aware of this case (with special interest made by Prince Charles) and it was taken up with the Sri Lankan government, not a huge amount of emphasis has been placed on arresting the accused. BBC News claim that there were 4 men under suspicion and that although the Sri Lankan High commission claim they are ‘committed to prosecute the persons responsible’ they were released on bail shortly after their arrest 2 years ago.

This asks the question, is  Sri Lanka is placing a higher regard on preserving the reputation of a leading Individual over justice and Democracy?  Secondly it enhances an even bigger debate about sexism, religion and hierarchical supremacy which often circulates amongst certain Countries and underlines the inequality placed upon minorities within communities.

This case has re-emerged closely after the ‘Delhi Gang rape’ where a girl was raped and killed on a bus in India and begs the question, how do civilians allow these monstrosities to continue to occur and how do they allow these Governments under whose leadership such crimes occur, maintain their power? The truth is that the population are unaware of the severity of the corruption. The ‘Delhi gang rape’ case brought the men to justice by public outcry, due to the high publicity the case received.

However, societies which are controlled largely by religiously ruling dictatorships, means governments can justify their behaviour by referring to religion and ‘right and wrong’. By having religion as such a powerful force, people are more likely to trust their police and leaders as they all follow the word of their God and much of the undemocratic, corrupt behaviour we see is never seen. Secondly in the UK people are educated about their rights and freedoms and so we know what we are entitled to. Our superb education system teaches us to speak out about things we disagree with and we are rarely met by aggression or stamped as criminals for doing so. In Countries, where education is possibly restricted, people aren’t told about democracy and what they’re entitled to and so leaders carry power where there is fear amongst their people.

David Cameron’s Britain working for their dole

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So the most recent emergence of economic reform comes in the shape of making people work for ‘their dole’. According to various speeches made at the conservative conference in Manchester, the party are going to begin making those who claim certain benefits work from 9-5 everyday on community service projects such as litter picking and building work. This is a scheme used in both Australia and the USA to help encourage people to get work. This may be a perfectly legitimate idea, however there are a few things I don’t understand.

Firstly one of the main reasons people are on job seekers allowance is because there are not any jobs at the moment. However surely this scheme is paying people to work? If they can create enough jobs to make people ‘work for their dole’, then surely they can create enough jobs to give to job seekers and allow them to get off benefits for good? Also this may feel degrading for those with qualifications and certain skills, when these government co-ordinated schemes categorise them. Also what happens to the people who do these jobs for a living? Are they going to end up jobless and end up back in the system, to be recycled and used for another government scheme aiming to educate the jobless?

Secondly, the minority of people on Job Seekers who simply just do not want to work, will not show up for this scheme. Although a very small group and we must not be judgemental, there are people living in our communities who have no intention of working. By forcing these people to go out on the streets to earn their money, it will immediately defeat the point, to them of benefits. Watching Jeremy Kyle as I write this, the tone of the man who pays for his drugs with ‘your money, you who work; your money’ proves what being on benefits actually is to them. What happens then if they just don’t show up? Will they get their money taken away? If this is so, how does our government expect them to survive?

Earlier, David Cameron declared that it was not the responsibility of the government to create jobs for people and instead the responsibility of the businesses. This came after a couple of employment schemes; such as work experience in big corporations failed to get people employed. Presumably the government feel this new, hardcore scheme will help increase employment levels in order to, increase the success of ‘our people’ in Britain.

Should the Peru drug girls be allowed to serve their sentences in the UK?

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Yesterday the case of Michaella and Melissa made progress, with the girls changing their plea from not guilty to guilty. They were told that this plea should reduce their drug-trafficking charge by an eighth off the minimum eight-year prison sentence’ according to The Belfast Telegraph. On top of this, their lawyer Peter Madden is going to try to get the courts to allow the girls to complete their sentence in a UK prison by claiming Peru cannot afford the cost of housing 2 British prisoners in their already overcrowded prisons. How far though do we think this is a valid reaction by the courts to their crime?

Firstly the girls only pleaded guilty in the hope of having a reduced sentence. Which, although perfectly understandable, seems illegitimate. After claiming innocence for the duration of the trial up until now, they cannot be sincere in their guilt. It was claimed that the judge in the trial  was going to determine the sincerity of their plea before deciding whether to accept their reduced sentence. If this is really the case then should he assume they do not truly believe they are guilty? Were they aware of what they were doing? If they were, then surely they are at least partially guilty? In my opinion they should therefore comply to Peruvian laws.

Having said this, I do believe they should be brought home. Although if found guilty they should serve the full sentence handed down by Peru, I don’t believe they should have to in a Peruvian prison. Alan Rae, a wrongly convicted Scottish man, served 2 years in a Peruvian prison and upon release claimed ‘I wouldn’t wish what I went through on my worst enemy’. Is it not true that we have Human Rights Laws protected by both the EU and the UN? Do prisoners not even deserve basic Human Rights? Although understandably our governments cannot ‘rescue’ every single prisoner who lives in bad conditions throughout the world, we do have a chance to save 2 human beings from the ‘hell’ these prisons are described as.

Labour conference 2013

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Okay so the Labour conference is going on in my hometown as we speak and it has simply led me to question everything they claim to stand for. 

A person who I work with is quite ignorant to politics, however week in, week out I hear a story about his father and a phone call he had with a cold caller who was trying to buy his vote for the labour party. The story goes that by the end of the conversation he had convinced this particular person that they should start their own party as ‘labour doesn’t support labour’. Being brought up by the daughter of a labour unionist, my life has has swung towards labour and support of the labour party. On the other side although a lot quieter about his political affiliations, my dad is your typical guardian reader. Because of this socialisation, I’ve always laughed off the story my work friend told me. 

However the other day, I was sitting down and The Sun; an openly right wing paper, was sitting in front of me and so I read it. It was actually refreshing hearing a newspaper which criticised a party I found it hard to see the dark side of. The tradition of the Labour party is to support the working class and the unionists whose everyday life can be a struggle and equality is paramount to their lifestyle. However this said article outlined the ‘millionaires club’ within Ed Miliband’s cabinet which includes all the most important POLICY CHANGING people. Don’t get me wrong, I am completely aware of the wealth of politicians but I suppose I had always turned a blind eye to it. 

Now when I open the Labour conference 2013 magazine and see Miliband quoted saying ‘we know that times are going to be hard’ and Harriet Harman saying ‘prices are rising faster than wages. Families are worse off. Long-term unemployment is up.’ I almost laugh and think how can these two incredibly wealthy people on 6 figure+ salaries be used to represent those on and below the poverty line, who actually need help?

I am in absolutely no way a conservative voter and still affiliate much more with Labour then I could ever imagine with any right wing party, however coming up to the much needed next election; the first election I can vote in, I am weighing up my options logically. I’ve always been encouraged to vote labour and although on paper they seem good, in reality I cannot agree. Driving along the seafront today, past the 5 star hotels the conference is being held in and past the blacked out, chauffeur driven porsches and mercedes, at the men in the posh suits who went to private school I can no longer see the Labour party as being any different to the people who sadly currently run our country. 

I guess the term we have to give to Labour today is New New New Labour and people like my grandfather who constantly provide a vote for this party remember them, with the likes of actual working class people such as Neil Kinock in charge. How can we call a party that would cap tuition fees at £6,000; double what they used to be (6 times more than when my parents went to university) and still only a third less of what they are now, a party in support of the poor; a party that provides oppurtunities? A man came into the typically Brighton Cafe that I work in today with a labour pass on round his neck. He had a london accent, dressed in normal clothes, with an old face as though he had experienced things in life. Until the party is taken back by the people actually know what it’s like to struggle, Labour cannot exist seriously. 

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