Thursday, 19 June 2014

In the News

Will anyone be voting for this Turkey in October?
"The Minister whose department handed over £200,000 to a convicted fraudster to film a Hollywood blockbuster in Jersey has told the States that the project has run out of money." (Bailiwick Express)
Senator Alan Maclean continues to try and spin this out with a kind Micawber promise to the public
"We have a script. It is in a position to proceed but it is not able to do so, we are advised at this stage, because of a lack of financing.Some of the financing has now been lost and they are working hard to put that back in place and to be able to progress it."
But the JEP notes that "Supermarket giant Tesco had been due to plough around £4 million into the Crystal Island film"
Perhaps I am naïve, but "some of the financing has been lost" does not quite sound as huge a sum as £4 million!
But will the Minister take responsibility for the £200,000, or will he let the voters decide in October?
It makes the unauthorised extra donation of £45,000 in 2006 by Philip Ozouf (who was then Minister for Economic Development) look like peanuts. As I recall, Senator Ozouf was not held accountable in any way for handing over that money without permission.
You would think lessons had been learnt since the fiasco of 2006, and procedures for signing off giving away wads of money on vanity projects had been tightened up. But apparently this is not the case.
"The States of Jersey Police has investigated nine cases of cyber-bullying since the end of January. Two cases have resulted in prosecutions for harassment. Senator Le Marquand said an investigator hired on 31 January was helping States police develop online intelligence. He told the States that since 31 January the police have recorded nine criminal reports of harassment or bullying over the internet. Of these, three alleged offenders received "words of advice" from the police, two harassment notices were served and two cases remain under investigation. In addition, two offenders have been prosecuted, with one receiving a 12-month binding over order and the other receiving a six-month binding over order and a two-year restraining order." (BBC News)
I have certainly seen a good deal of intemperate language, often name calling, especially on Twitter, so I am glad something is being done. Only last night, I was looking at a local politics group in Facebook, and found a case of harassment.
One individual is quite active politically online, but the poster did not take issue with him, but posted a photo of his wife taken from the website of the business where his wife works. I remonstrated with the poster, but they refused to remove it. But to attack people by disseminating information about their family seems to me to be a form of online harassment. It seems sneaky, sly and underhand, and I hope that the people who do this are given "words of advice".
The individual concerned called "Sue Young" has a Facebook page that is a monument to anonymity. They have no photos of themselves; no friends listed, and indeed have so locked off their account that it cannot accept friendship requests. There is an almost identical poster, but with even more intemperate language called "Trevor Skintman". They are like soldiers sitting in their little armoured pill boxes, peering out through the slips, and sniping anyone who comes within range.
Wikihow notes that fake Facebook accounts tend to give themselves away. One aspect is the friends list:
"Check out their friends. Are their friends global or local? The more local the friends, the more likely the person is to be real. The more global their friendship list, with very few or no local friends, start getting suspicious. The lack of local friends suggests that this is not a real person you're dealing with but a fake account."
"There are increasing cases of one person running numerous fake Facebook accounts, pretending to be an array of different people, all vouching for one another and all trying to be friends with someone real"
Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to ascertain their identity and prevent their unpleasant behaviour.
Tuck Shop
And finally, I see that Michael Gove is now set to abolish the school tuck shop. I used to love mine, and you could get a small bottle of coke (no cans in those days) for 9d (nine old pence). If you returned the bottle, you would get a three-penny piece back - which would be promptly spent on 3 penny items such as gobstoppers which really lasted.
We have a "tuck shop" to raise money for charity in our office. A sign of the times is the banana, and the healthy oat snack. But there are still crisps, toffee crisp, bounty bar, kit-kat, and all the non-healthy stuff that would cause the heath police to have a fit!
It always reminds me of George Orwell, who had his finger on the pulse of ordinary people, and even when he was writing, there was a gap between those who wanted people to have good wholesome, healthy diets, and the actual people themselves. Orwell's sympathy was always with the ordinary man and woman, and never with the healthy food expert - yes, they were around even then! Here is what he has to say about a miner's diet:
"The basis of their diet is white bread and margarine, corned beef, sugared tea, and potatoes - an appalling diet. Would it not be better if they spent more money on wholesome things like oranges and wholemeal bread or if they even, like the writer of the letter to the New Statesman, saved on fuel and ate their carrots raw? Yes, it would, but the point is that no ordinary human being is ever going to do such a thing. The ordinary human being would sooner starve than live on brown bread and raw carrots."

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