On the Directgov Jobs & Skills website (official UK government services website, in their jobseekers section) RIGHT NOW. Full text is as follows:
Secret Intelligence Service
Target Elimination Specialist
From time to time the UK government has a need to remove people whose continued existence poses a risk to the effective conduct of public order. So we require particularly skilled professionals who are prepared to work on a non-attributable basis to deal with these problems.
The role will involve international travel to a number of countries where individuals need to be removed.
The ideal candidate will need to have no particular distinguishing features so as to blend in and be able to take on new identities as required. They will need to be resourceful in finding ways to accomplish their missions and, in some cases, to leave foreign countries by non-conventional means. The role would suit candidates with prior military experience, particularly in the use of sniper rifles.
The job holder will receive all necessary equipment, including passports, special watches, jet packs, mini-submarines and a Walther PPK.
This role is particularly appropriate for those who like their martinis shaken and not stirred.
To apply for this role, please express your interest somewhere in the vicinity of the large and rather fake-looking rock in Regent’s Park.
Once again, governments fuelled by a fear of their electorates and empowered by corporate influence are trying to steal our freedom. Our freedom to do whatever we want online so long as it doesn’t impair anyone else’s freedom. They want to pass laws, during closed-door sessions, to censor our freedom of expression. Thankfully, Google are throwing their substantial weight behind Liberty, but they need your help too. They’ve got a tiny little form for you to fill in to add your name to the list and show your support, plus the space to write something a bit longer if you want.
We need to get on this. All of us. There will always be an establishment that doesn’t like us having freedom of communication, so we’ve got to let them know that we won’t give it up without a fight. Please, add your name.
I felt the need to add a little more, too, so this is what I wrote:
History teaches us a very simple lesson about how societies organise themselves. Those that are led by a small number of people making decisions without accountability or transparency have less liberty and more abuse of power than those with more people involved in decision-making and more transparency. Compare a democracy with a dictatorship, and you can see this fundamental truth quite clearly.
The internet should not, MUST not become a feudal society, a class-based hierarchy offering preference to those with wealth, or a top-down dictatorship. It’s unsurprising that countries with poor human rights records would quite like that, but shocking that modern first world democracies would entertain, for even one second, the possibility of closed-door unaccountable legislative procedures. All ordinary internet users must stand together on this.
NO to undemocratic censorship. NO to opaque legislation. NO to any affront to the ordinary internet user’s freedom. I stand for liberty.
After last night, which was huge and out of control, with police stretched way too thinly by rioting springing up randomly all across London, people are going to want something to happen.
The Prime Minister has finally deigned to fly back from his villa in Tuscany, and is chairing a meeting of COBRA, the UK’s disaster response committee.
Here’s what needs to happen:
The police need to be utterly supported and congratulated, and everything needs to be done to help them perform even better. The video above shows the sort of desperate situations they were facing last night (link via @Interdome, via @m1k3y).
The government needs to admit that this is an issue caused by the society that they have established over the past year since coming to power. Poor kids, priced out of getting a decent education, with no money in their pockets, and unable to get a job, with no future and nothing to lose, all because of this government’s economic choices.
Government ministers, particularly the PM and the Mayor Of London, need to get out into these communities ASAP and show young people that they want to engage with them, they want to listen, and that the government is prepared to take immediate action to improve their conditions. We know politicians lie, and are full of empty promises, particularly these politicians, so they desperately need to re-engage these young people and make them feel like valued parts of society again.
I don’t think any of that will happen, sadly. Here’s what I worry is going to happen:
The government accepts no responsibility and, essentially, issues a telling-off to these kids for being naughty, making themselves sound totally out-of-touch and even more irrelevant and even less interested in the conditions that have caused all this in the first place.
The government talks a lot about how this was caused by Twitter and BBM, totally missing the point. Twitter and BBM have been around for years; they do not cause riots. People with nothing to lose cause riots. But if they can push through some legislation against social media, they will, because it gives them the illusion of more control. It won’t make a damn bit of difference, of course, but I’ll bet they try to do it anyway, because it’s easier to blame Twitter than it is to take responsibility themselves.
They’ll totally gloss-over how the same social media have been used to organise clean-ups.
They’ll make no changes to the policies that have made young people so desperate in the first place, aside from perhaps some very superficial token gestures.
They’ll generally utterly fail to get it.
They’ll escalate the police response, possibly getting water cannon, tear gas, rubber bullets, and even the army involved. All of which are fucking terrifying prospects, but when the riots are springing up at random it makes it very difficult to get these resources in the right place anyway. A small number of people will get very fucked up, and the majority will get away without a scratch.
And in that situation, here’s what I see happening:
Residents take matters into their own hands. They were already doing this a bit last night, defending their businesses. If we’re not careful, this will spill over into widespread vigilantism.
Someone’s going to get killed. Probably someone who is totally innocent. It’s amazing that no-one’s been killed already.
I am deeply deeply worried for London as a whole, and in particular all my friends down there. I dearly hope the government respond intelligently, but I don’t hold out a lot of hope.
In Support of the Teacher's Strike in the UK Tomorrow
Tomorrow two of the teaching unions here in the UK (representing about half the teachers in the country) are going on strike over the Government's proposed increases to their pension contributions, as well as their intention to raise the retirement age. The Government are, of course, being dicks about it and have flatly refused to do anything resembling negotiating, instead sitting there and just saying "No" over and over. But the thing that's bugging me the most is the teachers unions are allowing themselves to be characterised as truculent, selfish and unreasonable. They're getting bogged down in bickering and playing right into the hands of the Government, who are keen to make themselves look like the reasonable ones when in fact they're anything but.
And, really, I just want someone representing the teachers to break the whole thing down for the parents and workers out there to the key points, so that they can see which side is really being unreasonable. The argument is, in essence...
Government: LOL, we fucked the economy, so we're raising your pensions and retirement age.
Teachers: Er, explain please?
Government: No U.
Teachers: But... about five years ago the actuarial review found there was no need to change pension and retirement conditions, and that our contributions would be sufficient as they are.
Government: Yeah, but 'recession' LOL.
Teachers: But we've already paid that money. That money is supposed to be ring-fenced. It's not a public pot of money for you to skim from. We pay higher pension contributions than almost all private sector workers, and that money is our money that we're entitled to get back.
Teachers: Have things changed? Where has that money gone? Have you commissioned another actuarial review? We'd like to see the details of the review. We're legally entitled to see it.
Government: RECESSION LOL.
Teachers: Look, all we want is some evidence of an independent review that proves pension contributions need to go up. You're legally obliged to conduct such a study if you want us to pay more. Where is your evidence?
Government: Um, TEACHERS = GREEDY. SO THERE.
Teachers: Look, we're trying to discuss and negotiate this in a professional manner. But you need to give us your evidence. You HAVE to give us your evidence.
Government: NO U NO U NO U LA LA LA LA LA WE CAN'T HEAR YOU.
Teachers: *sigh* We don't want to do this, but you're refusing to negotiate. You're leaving us with no option but industrial action. We don't want to do that. Do you want us to do that? Just give us the evidence you HAVE to have based your decision on (assuming you've not just made the increases up off the tops of your heads).
Government: TEACHERS ARE STRIKING. TEACHERS BAD. BOOOO TEACHERS. EVERYBODY HATE TEACHERS.
Teachers: OK, fine, we fucking tried. You're giving us no alternative and behaving like a bunch of pricks. Enjoy taking care of your kids for an extra day Britain.
Tell Congress to oppose S. 978, the new “Ten Strikes” bill
Here they go again: The big business lobbyists who are behind the Internet Blacklist Bill are already making the sequel. THIS WEEK Senators will be voting on a “Ten Strikes” bill to make it a felony to stream copyrighted content — like music in the background of a Youtube video — more than ten times.
As the writers at TechDirt point out, under this bill you could go to jail for posting video of your friends singing karaoke:
The entertainment industry is freaking out about sites that embed and stream infringing content, and want law enforcement to put people in jail over it, rather than filing civil lawsuits…. We already pointed to one possibility: that people embedding YouTube videos could face five years in jail. Now, others are pointing out that it could also put kids who lip sync to popular songs, and post the resulting videos on YouTube, in jail as well.
That’s right: Ten strikes and you could get jail time. Less than two weeks ago, the Hollywood industry magazine, Variety, reported, “Industry lobbyists pressed House members on Wednesday to pass legislation that would make illegal streaming of movies, TV shows and other types of content a felony….”
Only days later, the MPAA is getting its wish. Will you email your lawmakers and tell them to vote against the Ten Strikes Bill? Just add your info at right to automatically send this note to them, under your name and from your address. (You can edit the letter if you’d like to.)
Just sign on at right and we’ll send an email to your lawmakers.
Hang on, didn’t the US join the UN in condemming UK, France’s “Three-Strikes” copyright law? Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing?
The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.
Due to time constraints it may not be possible to respond to your email. All messages are read, printed off, then eaten. Om nom nom.
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