Archive | November, 2012

Tax The Fat?

29 Nov

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After reading a blog post by Practical Ethics about their argument for not adding additional tax to fatty foods, it left me unsure of my stance on the subject. Alcohol and cigarettes both have increasingly high taxes placed on them, but I had never personally seen that it was due to the health risks that these items may hold; more to do with the fact that they’re two things which are increasingly becoming associated with an enjoyable lifestyle for many Brits and therefore easy to gain money on.

Adding extra tax to ‘fags and booze’ has never stopped anyone buying; it’s just meant that what they consume is more Lambrini than Oyster Bay, or rollies rather than B&H ‘finest’. So would a tax on fatty foods stop people buying them, or would they choose Tesco value chocolate over Diary Milk instead? As a nation, we’ve been brought up knowing that if we want something then we can get it, and as far as I am aware, tax has never stopped this mentality.

The idea behind placing tax on fatty foods is to help with some of the costs the NHS face with obese, lazy and out of control humans, who consider 1 of their 5 a day to be a strawberry jam Krispy Kreme or a slab of Dairy Milk Fruit and Nut. Yet what about the people who do have self-control and once a month decide to pick up a chocolate bar, should they be punished with additional tax too?

Whilst writing this blog I have come to the conclusion that if the government was to bump up the prices of fatty foods because of their health implications, then surely, to be fair to everyone they should just make the NHS private and those who suffer as a result of obesity have to pay for the outcome of their lifestyle decisions.

‘Breezy’? More Like A Social Media Tornado.

28 Nov

After a relentless twitter campaign, comedy writer Jenny Johnson got an unexpected backlash yesterday, when she ended up on the wrong side of self dubbed Chris Brown fanatics, “Team Breezy”. Events escalated  after Brown reacted angrily to a comment made by Johnson and proceeded to engage in a series of distasteful, misogynistic rants. All, on the face of it, aimed at giving Jenny a taste of her own troll medicine and from the looks of things, it was bitter…

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The controversial hip hop star is no stranger to scandal. Ms Johnson’s crusade began way back in 2009 after Brown was convicted for the horrific assault on his then girlfriend, pop star Rihanna. The question is, does this past indiscretion, although undeniably appalling, mean he should be forced to accept any and all negative remarks that come his way?

Jenny Johnson went out of her way to personally attack the singer, despite knowing it would antagonise not only Brown himself, but also his legion of mindless, loyal followers. Of course the logical solution, obvious to the educated and those with basic common sense, would have been for the singer to simply ignore any derogative comments, but no; Chris had to resort to single-handedly destroying the reputation, painstakingly recovered by his PR team following his conviction. All the time, money and resources invested in maintaining his status as a credible recording artist, were thrown away for the sake of attempting to quiet one opinionated journalist.

It has now got to the stage where she is receiving a deluge of vile death threats as a penalty for her part in the deactivation of his twitter account. This is utterly ridiculous. On one hand, yes, a troll is a troll, but there is never an excuse to threaten the life of another person in the name of punishment. Social networking sites have rules and regulations for a reason. It’s not the responsibility of hormonal teenagers to defend Chris Brown’s character. If he was genuinely concerned or emotionally wounded then he had the option to report Jenny’s account; instead he chose to reply and with full knowledge of the consequence, enrage his fans.

At the end of the day she poked a sleeping dragon; this twitter tirade has been ongoing for the last 2 years. Chris can’t post a picture of a shoe without Jenny implying he uses it to kick toddlers. The second he bites back she has been portrayed as the victim but is that really the case? Of course on the other hand, Mr Brown was essentially fishing for compliments with his original post, so he can’t really sulk just because he doesn’t like what he caught…

Empty lunch box…

28 Nov

New research has discovered more than 500,000 teenage girls have visited ‘Pro-Anorexia’ websites every year. Over 500 websites have been known to offer ‘thinspiration,’ encouraging girls to starve themselves, just drink coffee, smoke and take diet pill to achieve ‘the goddess’ look.  Statistics show that 1 in 5 girls who have visited these websites are aged between 6-11.

The age of the users is astounding; anorexia usually begins in adolescence but these girls are far from their teenage-hood. Girls often look up to celebrity figures, aspiring to act and look like those they see in magazines, online and in the general public eye. To many vulnerable girls being skinny is pretty and attractive and find themselves obsessing over looks and the figures of others.

These figures show girls as young as 6 have searched these websites, but I want to know why these young girls have been allowed access on the internet and where do their parents fall into the situation? Parents need to control what their children view, it is one thing to see images of ‘aspiring’ celebrities in a newspaper but it is a completely  different situation when children this young are permitted access to the internet to search for pro-anorexia websites, which from my point of view should not even exist in the first place.

The problem also lies with the websites regulation themselves, although these websites do not promote positive messages for young people as a whole, age restrictions should be made with consent from adults before users search the website. If children were not granted access to these websites, the statistics would be less significant or not even exist at all.

However many websites cannot take full control and responsibility of every user they have, this means it is up to parents to control what their children are viewing and searching for their own benefit. Parental control software is usually free, so why are Parents not taking the opportunity to install it for their children’s safety. It is sad to know cildren so young are worrying about body image instead of playing carelessly with their friends.

The use and abuse of the internet is becoming extremely concerning for young people, as these new figures show even the youngest of kids are being influenced from the internet, when will it stop?

Life is LIFE.

22 Nov

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I have always had a problem with the justice system in this country because I’ve never understood how a judge could refer to life as 13 years. Does this mean that every 13 years we evolve as people and emerge out of the other side a new? I think not. A ‘life’ sentence in this country is the equivalent to a dog, not a human.

I have always admired the American justice system simply because I love that someone can be sentenced to something like 450 years in prison if they have committed multiple murders. That to me is justice, because in no way can that criminal be stood in the docks thinking, ‘I wonder what I’ll do when I get out in 450 years’ time…’ I’m sure in the UK there are people who would think 13 years was bearable in exchange for killing someone they despised. However I bet there is a much smaller amount of people who would think spending the rest of their life in prison would be worth the death of their enemy.

In the UK a panel of judges are currently in debate for whether ‘life should mean life’ and so far they have decided that this should only apply for the most serious of cases. I think this is totally immoral. In a lot of murder cases the criminal gets sentenced to life, behaves ‘nicely’ in prison and then gets early parole. I certainly know that if someone killed one of my loved ones and was realised in less than 7 years I would consider committing the crime myself!

I personally do not think that the punishment system in the UK is strong enough to be a deterrent. If someone has managed to get themselves in the position where they are being trailed for murder and then sentenced to life, that is enough reason for them to be in prison for longer than a few blinks. This is not taking their life away, they are still breathing and if something went wrong in the investigation then they can still be released and given a rather large lump sum in compensation.

Thankfully I have been raised well enough to know that murder is wrong. However if I hadn’t been raised in this way then I may just be sat here contemplating this evenings activities, knowing that if I behaved nicely then by the age of 27 I’d be free as a bird and still on course in my life plan to pop out a sprog…

 

*Just to clarify, in no terms am I off murdering this evening.

Unsocial Media

19 Nov

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British Airways has launched an investigation after a racist message was retweeted from its official Twitter account last Saturday afternoon.

The post was retweeted to its 210,000 followers, which included profane language and a racist comment against Asian people.After the offensive message was deleted, the airline then tweeted an apology saying ‘Apologies for the last RT. We are sorry for any offence caused and are investigating how this may have happened.’The message was originally sent from the account of ‘Asian Ronaldo’ tweeting about his cancelled flight. After the message was ‘accidentally’ retweeted, hundreds of BA followers retweeted or quoted the message and over 150 retweeted the apology.

The story has been published amongst various online news websites, including the daily mail. Online articles give readers the chance to post their comments under the article to express their views and opinions.The daily mail article received numerous comments from their online readers deriving from the appauling messages that were made by the original sender ‘Asian Ronaldo.’ Many comments explained how internet users hide behind their keyboard and would not use the language or the messages they use online in a face-to-face situation.

Everyone has their opinion or their view on the world and the right to freedom of speech. However sometimes you have to think twice about the things you publish to millions of people. The Boy may have been ranting to his few hundred followers online, but in extreme cases these messages can be seen by more viewers than you imagined.

Disregarding the damage the message may have done to the reputation to British Airways, malicious, racist or harmful comments should be monitored and regulated on social media sites. Facebook terms and conditions say they terminate accounts for abusive behaviour and comments. However Twitter ask account members to report abusive behaviour making it the reponsibility of users themselves.Personally I have never known or heard of FaceBook accounts being deleted due to abusive behaviour, however there have been multiple occassions (In the UK) where Police investigate and advise victims of trolling and cyberbullying to delete tormentors from their profiles.Yet Twitter make it the repsonsibility of its users to report any abusive behaviour, the problem will never be solved if users have to ‘snitch’ as the troll will just create a new account.

Will there ever be any successful regulation for social media sites?

And some advice…It is best to keep things to yourself, if you wouldn’t say it to your Gran, then don’t say it at all.

Derren Brown’s Apocalypse

18 Nov

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Similar to I’m sure, many of our readers, I have personally gone through the process of meticulously formulating my escape plan should we be faced with an end of the world, ‘Dawn of the Dead’ style emergency, (out the window, shimmy up the drain pipe and wait on the roof for helicopter rescue… Obviously.) So you can only imagine my elation upon hearing of Derren Brown’s latest Channel 4 experiment. The 2 part special saw 20-something layabout Steven Brosnan chosen as the victim of an elaborate stunt, all with the aim of shocking this ungrateful slob into a drastic life change.

After months of planning, phone hacking and the work of over 200 actors, Steven awoke on the day of his birthday with no cake or prezzies, but instead on the ward of a deserted military hospital, facing the distinct possibility of unsavoury death by zombie. Now assuming that contrary to rumour, Steven was in fact totally oblivious to his role in this elaborate stunt, questions really need to be asked about the ethical implications of testing someone’s mental stability in this way; all for the sake of providing some gripping entertainment for the general public to watch with their take-away on a Friday night.

Based on his poor gaping expression in the face of lethal danger, if he is an actor then it’s safe to say his Oscar nomination is some way off! So essentially, Derren left this poor guy in an undeniably traumatising situation without giving any form of legal consent! Yes, you could argue that he put himself forward for selection, but that was with no explanation of the concept or, more seriously, the choice of opting out at any stage, it’s hardly informed by any stretch!

It has been suggested that the programme adopts a utilitarian perspective in the sense that hopefully “the end will justify the means”. They want to transform the attitude of this ambition-less young man, so it’s OK to subject him to this form of extreme, but controlled, peril? Although Brown claimed throughout the show that Steven’s mental state was being constantly monitored, how could he possibly predict entirely how he would react? It’s a hell of a risk for 2 hours of good TV…

Steven Brosnan is now allegedly working as a teacher’s assistant, so looks like it all worked out well in the end! Personally, it’s taught me that if you wake up in a zombie apocalypse in the near future, immediately suspect that Derren is back up to his old tricks again and go call that Zombie’s bluff.

Comment below with your thoughts/ apocalypse plans…

Please Mind The Gap…

8 Nov

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Much has been documented in recent times about the ethical treatment of women in the workplace and it is a political argument long fought by activists, going as far back as Emmeline Pankhurst (that lass who chained herself to the Prime Ministers railings for those of you who fell asleep in your history lesson.)

An investigation by the Chartered Institute of Management has today released some genuinely shocking statistics of gender inequality in UK businesses, which would undoubtedly have left the suffragettes spitting in their bonnets… 

According to a nationwide survey, 15% of business women in Britain will essentially work for free the rest of this year! The CMI claims that the average female executive is earning a staggering £500,000 less than her male counterpart, despite the fact they are performing an indistinguishable role. How is it that in the 21st century we are still left with social prejudice towards successful women, who are seemingly deemed as doing a less worthy job due to the fact they have a womb! Surely as a society we are now wholly aware of the notion that a diverse management team is a successful one?

How can anyone justify the idea that a woman deserves such a significantly lower wage packet in comparison to a man in the same position of authority and stature? In this age of ethical activism and freedom of equality, we should not be faced with such stark difference in the treatment of men and women in the corporate domain.

 

I mean, imagine the horror by the entire male population if the same were to be said in reverse…

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