Big Brother Is Watching You


I expected to face some scrutiny upon returning to the UK and gaining any form of employment. However, what I have come up against during this last week has taken the biscuit. It has surpassed everything I thought possible when I consider security checking processes. It has made me question just how much Big Brother does watch us, and how much Big Brother would like to watch us if legally they could.

Basically the main issue I am facing is the fact I lived abroad for the last 3 years. Here in the UK it seems that the system, and those in control of it, won’t be happy with anything they can’t fully qualify or quantify. If they feel they are unable to track me from my first day living abroad to my last, they aren’t happy. They immediately feel suspicious that they are dealing with a criminal or a terrorist.

Now I have provided all the information required of me, everything necessary to prove I am not a criminal or a terrorist. This information is exhaustive, never ending and ever changing. I have forwarded references from the UK and abroad, proof of addresses for the last 5 years, photographic ID, passport number, National Insurance Number, my foreign residency details, my overseas police check, gone through the process of completing a UK police check, provided certificates and verifying emails, even 3 years bank statements with explanations of deposits and declaration documentation.

Yet, regardless of all this I still haven’t received an all clear that they have enough proof to state that I am who I am and that I am not a criminal or a terrorist.

What more can I do? What else can I produce? Perhaps they may wish to polygraph me or send me to a detention centre and beat the living daylights out of me until they are satisfied I’m not a threat to the UK!!!

I am a UK national too; born and bred in the UK! I have lived, worked, been educated and paid my dues to the UK, but the moment I decided to relocate because of better opportunities, and then I decided to return, it was as though that this act alone automatically made me a criminal.

I am angry beyond belief that these checks are so intrusive and demand such confidential information (bank account details for one). I have jumped over their every hurdle and still may not be cleared for work in my chosen field, which is at the moment within the financial sector. I have expressed my concerns, but to no avail. I have just had to smile and face the fact that this background checking company hold my entire life at their fingertips. I also have no real guarantees that the information I have provided will be secure and confidential; that I won’t have some disgruntled employee selling on all my confidential details to the highest bidder

This makes me wonder what will happen if I do fail!? I state now, there is NO reason for me to fail. I have given them every piece of evidence as required to prove that I am not a threat, not a criminal and not a terrorist – two police checks surely are sufficient enough for this?! Ironically, if I wanted to work with children and young people, I am now officially cleared to do so. I am fully security checked and Okayed; minus the confidential intrusion and masses of information required for a job with money!!! The welfare of people is obviously not as important as other people’s money!!

So, how much more can Big Brother demand of me before I scream and tell them to get lost and keep their job?! I’m not sure. All I know is that if I do fail the security checking processes it poses a massive question as to the success and validity of their actual processes, and also I am left wondering what unjust repercussions that black mark will have for my continued career? I am left wonder if the worst does come to the worst, not only will I be left without my promised job, but how will I then reverse that wrongly received condemnation and prove I am innocent and not a criminal or a terrorist?

This background checking company basically have my life in their hands, and hold my future too. If they condemn me how can I say they were wrong, how can I then prove I am innocent? Where would my authority come from to challenge them when it is their purpose to prove people’s innocence??

For me it makes me sick to think that one company has that much power over any one person’s life. They are after all fallible and can either way make mistakes. It proves to me that Big Brother does call the shots and that the little people, the decent, honest and hard-working will always come off the worst against such unstoppable and rubber stamped force.

This is how the innocent are treated, God help the guilty!

I can only sit and wait and hope that all of this ends, and that by tomorrow I receive my much deserved security clearance.

If not, I have a whole new fight on my hands, which will lead me into uncharted territories.

This Girl Can


This girl can

I have now relocated back to the UK. I have left my old life in Madrid behind me with plenty of fond memories stored away for reflection.

As sad as I am to be beginning again away from a city I called home for over three years, I realise change is inevitable and life goes on. One chapter closes and another one opens.

I was fully prepared to make my return to the UK though. Months before my arrival here I had been applying for work, and also returned last year to complete volunteer work and gain UK references.

Even so it has been a upheaval. It is a shock to the system and emotionally I have felt uncertain, sad and lost. Not to mention that now I am here I am currently living out of suitcases in a hotel!! Although it is a nice hotel, with a fabulous gym and restaurant, it isn’t home. Until I find a place to rent, as my house is now tenanted, I won’t feel as settled as I would like. I miss my things; everything I own remains in storage, and I have no car. Here I need a car!!! I am relying on unreliable and terrible public transport in what is always a gloomy and cold UK winter!!

I certainly don’t need my sunglasses here!!

I have also discovered that job hunting in the UK has become far more difficult than I recall. As I have lived abroad I forgot how much the UK (powers that be), like to be able to track their citizens whereabouts.The need for four plus references, consecutive references, personal references, recent experience, ability to do jobs without training, skills have to match exactly to every job applied for, full employment history track, police checks, address histories, credit checks, ID checks and so on and so on is exhaustive. Paperwork galore to prove I wasn’t some criminal Drug Lord on the run in Madrid, or whatever else!!

I have come to realise how many barriers exist for people who actually are seeking work in the UK. I wonder just how anyone who has lived abroad, is foreign, been unemployed or can’t prove their history ever finds any work here. Especially when every job application requires something new as proof of who and what you are.

Sometimes a person just can’t prove their every movement in life, sometimes a person doesn’t have that ability!!!!! Life isn’t so smooth or easily categorised and dissected!!!

On the upside, I have found a job. I have gone through the exhaustive application process and personal / police checks. I now hope, and keep fingers crossed, that everything I have done (checks included) will be sufficient enough to allow me to actually begin the job as agreed in March.

I must admit I am looking forward to being able to regain my own financial independence. Just working in a stable environment whereby I move towards something and progress makes me feel more settled and optimistic about being here.

Oh, and because of the fabulous hotel gym, I have taken my fitness routine to a new level. Getting up early and hitting the gym is actually helping me feel happier, mentally and emotional ready, more positive and allowing me to hone my focus regarding the chaos of everything else going on around me. I actually think I prefer the gym now to dancing and walking, the only thing missing is my boxing classes!!!

So, all that has been done and dusted and now I have to wait and see what the next few months ahead will bring for me and my life. I hope that all will be good, end well and that life will be kind while I keep thinking “This girl can” regardless of what is thrown in my direction!!

Room 101 and Money


I’m back with yet another Room 101 post, and I have to thank Poetic from Stranger Than Fiction at http://po3tic.com
for providing me with the idea – THANK YOU Poetic!!!!!

Room 101 posts; I write about what I hate or dislike about one topic. In my post I have to try to persuade you, the reader, that the points I have raised are valid enough to consign the topic to Room 101. Therefore, you the reader have to get involved, leave me your opinions and decide if this topic is worthy or Room 101. After this, please then leave me your ideas for further Room 101 topics.

Further note: I would ask all contributors to be RESPECTFUL to the opinions of others. This is not an opportunity to ‘shout’ others down or forcibly exert your own opinion over anyone else’s. THANK YOU.

Room 101 and Money: What I Hate about Money (or the root of all evil).

Money makes money, and while the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. What I dislike the most about money is the inequity it can bring to people and to life.

Let’s be honest, money does in fact make people’s life easier.

With money more opportunities, possibilities and doors are open to you. With money you don’t necessarily have to prove your worth, other than by flashing your cash (your literal worth). It seems that if you have wealth, you’re somehow more important to everyone, and those with wealth are very nearly untouchable. Unlike the rest of us, many of the wealthy aren’t always subject to the same laws, rules, governance and so on that dominate our lives and circumstances.

It seems that having money elevates you and your standing in the world; which seems so superficial and cold. I cannot quite understand how anyone can be measured solely on one element of themselves, and that element is strictly material based. Sometimes it seems that people value money more than their own self or ‘soul’. Without money, it seems that you are merely left behind in the world, and the division money creates in life only increases between those who have and those who don’t have.

This division is very clear when we consider the daily and force-fed media messages we receive. Telling us all that we have to spend money, we have to obtain money and that we have to emulate the life of some rich and powerful person. Money signifies status, grandeur, power, beauty and success and so on, One example of this, and one I particularly hate, is glib programmes regarding the money and lifestyles of the rich; the Russian billionaires, the business tycoons, the footballers, the ‘pop’ stars and so on. I find this type of ‘information’ to be trashy and inappropriate, especially when nearly 1/2 of the world’s population, more than 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty, that’s less than $1.25 a day, and not to forget the 2. 1 billion children worldwide living in poverty.

I know these programmes are supposed to offer escapism from the reality that people are impoverish, and are scraping by in meagre existences. But, it feels as though all of this wealth promotion is just a slap in our already sore faces. All of this wealth culture seems to be saying that ordinary life isn’t good enough, because it is missing something, and that ‘profound’ something is the absence of a large bank account, oh, and a yacht.

For those of us without a yacht we still live a life; why then are we made to feel that we’re missing out? Why is it we are told we have to be wealthy or at least pretend to be? The myth of wealth creation annoys me too, because no one wants to accept that gaining wealth often is a hopeless hope and impossible dream. It is rather like the ‘stick’ the lottery conjures every week to make us yearn for the ‘carrot’. People pin their entire hopes on winning the big ticket so they can change their lives overnight. I actually know people who have a lottery plan, and in this is everything they will do, once they win (good luck with that one). I feel these people are wasting their lives by chasing money that will in reality never be theirs. They seem to believe that without this money their lives are empty and their being is meaningless. Yes, money does have a great power to motivate us all in our lives, so much so that people will kill, lie, cheat, steal, bribe, kidnap and all the other bad things we will do just to get it.

Is it fair that so few have so much?? When you consider that eighty people have as much wealth as 50% of the rest of humanity it kind of makes you wonder why, and who those people actually are and what they actually do?! I am not suggesting that we redistribute wealth. In my opinion that won’t work. Yet when people make money, such gargantuan amounts, do they ever stop to think about those who don’t literally have a pot to urinate in? Do they ever think about how they actually made that money? Do they consider just how privileged they are in the world? Do they even try to make a difference and help others? In many cases I doubt they do, and not because they don’t necessarily have a moral conscience. It is just because if they were so eager to change the system that provided them with money, then they would no longer be wealthy and reside in such a privileged position in life. Money does after all make money, and the system helps to grease the wheels that turn it.

So for me, I suppose I hate what the prospect of money can do. How it can turn people into greedy, lying, cheating, desperate sharks. I hate how money unsettles the balance of power and control in life. I hate how poorer people are often left to founder when there is so much wealth in world. I hate how we value money often more than life and that without money people feel that their life and selves are unfulfilled and stunted.

What do you think??

Let me have your opinions, and let me know if you think what I hate about money deserves a place in Room 101.

Give me your ideas for another Room 101 topic I can post about     

 

Room 101 and Sharia Law


I’m back with another Room 101 post, and I have to thank John Zande of The Superstitious Naked Ape at https://thesuperstitiousnakedape.wordpress.com for providing me with the topic – THANK YOU JOHN!!!!

Room 101 posts; I write about what I hate or dislike about one topic. In my post I have to try to persuade you, the reader, that the points I have raised are valid enough to consign the topic to Room 101. Therefore, you the reader have to get involved, leave me your opinions and decide if this topic is worthy or Room 101. After this, please then leave me your ideas for further Room 101 topics.

What I dislike about Sharia law (people who believe it should exist in Europe or the Western World).

For those of you who don’t know a thing about Sharia law;

It is the body of Islamic law. The term means “way” or “path”; it is the legal framework within which the public and some private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a legal system based on Islam.

Sharia deals with all aspects of day-to-day life, including politics, economics, banking, business, law, contract law, sexuality, and social issues.

There is not a strictly codified uniform set of laws that can be called Sharia. It is more like a system of several laws, based on the Qur’an, Hadith and centuries of debate, interpretation and precedent.

Western law confines itself largely to matters relating to crime, contract, civil relationships and individual rights.

Sharia is however concerned with more;

Sharia rulings have been developed to help Muslims understand how they should lead every aspect of their lives according to God’s wishes.

So, whether democracy and Islam can coexist is a topic of heated debate.

Yet, Sharia has been incorporated into UK political systems in general ways:

British food regulations allow meat to be slaughtered according to Jewish and Islamic practices – a touchstone issue for both communities.

Also in late 2008 the UK officially allowed tribunals governing marriage, divorce, and inheritance to make legally binding decisions if both parties agreed.

Many might argue though that what has been incorporate into law doesn’t go far enough, and that the law should in fact fully adopt Sharia law.

Has any western nation allowed Sharia to be used in full?

In short, no;

Canada is widely reported to have come close – leading to protests in 2005.

In reality the proposals were little different from the existing religious arbitration rules in the UK, and the UK hasn’t protested.

What about Sharia and women?

Some Muslim women in the West are worried about protection of their rights in Sharia courts where there is discrimination against them because of patriarchal and cultural control in their communities.

They have concerns about the fairness of its application, and women are more concerned about how existing British equality measures and human rights laws can be used to improve their position and voice in society.

So, HOW DO I FEEL REGARDING Sharia law in Europe (Western world) and those who advocate it;

This is a tough one. For me I feel everyone should be represented within the country they live and work within. BUT, why can’t we just accept that every country does things differently and for a reason.

There is no system of law or Governance that is perfect, I doubt it ever could be. Also, no system of law of Governance completely reflects the needs, religions, beliefs or rights of every citizen. There are many flaws, pit falls and grey areas already within law and Governance, without even thinking about how Sharia law could be assimilated fully into these. Especially as Sharia law doesn’t have one universal definition that every Muslim can agree upon. 

Also; if Western countries are doing what they can to accept and assimilate other religious beliefs, and incorporating laws required to fulfil these beliefs, why can’t the same be said about Islamic countries and Western beliefs, rights and laws?

It certainty wouldn’t be OK for a Western unmarried couple to kiss publicly in Dubai or for women to wear Western dress in an Islamic country (by revealing too much flesh).

Tolerance for, and the desire for certain codes, laws, ethics, rulings and rights to be established, should I feel swing both ways. It can’t literally be one rule for one in one country and one rule for another in another country.

Or, perhaps the fact that the law is the law in one country should be respected.

I have moved to Spain, but haven’t expected the Spanish way of life, rules and laws to be the same as they would be in the UK. Nor, could I demand that they should change to reflect my needs, and the rest of the British Ex-pats who live here. I choose to live here, therefore I choose to live by the standards of the country. I knew what to expect and knew Spain wasn’t the UK. So, who am I to dictate my needs and demand they be met?

People who want to enforce Sharia laws on all citizens of the West, in Europe or US have to realise that it would never work, mainly because we aren’t all Muslim. Also, if Sharia law is fundamentally about God’s wishes, how can these wishes be incorporated into a universal law or Governance to reflect everyone’s needs? Also, to be Devil’s advocate; how can we be sure those are God’s actual wishes? Or that this God reflects what we believe to be or not to be God? Or could it be that these wishes are more man made – using religion as the excuse to legitimise a set of laws to benefit ‘man’ not really God?

When thinking about how countries could adopt Sharia law, I consider a country like Spain. Sharia law in Spain would be too much of a conflict. Spain has deep seated fears relating to their past; wars with Islamic countries, and consequently being conquered and ruled by Islamic nations. Also the fact that Spain is a Catholic country (follows a different ideal of God), and that not too long ago Spain was ruled under a dictatorship (they therefore aren’t too keen on mass control).

I think people now want more freedoms, not less. They don’t wish to be controlled by any set of Draconian religious rules (Islamic or other). That is why people come to the West, to enjoy freedoms and live a life they might not otherwise of had (free of religious doctrine and controls). By all means reflect the needs of the people, but not at the expense of everyone else’s liberty, rights and freedoms. There has to be a balance, that is what tolerance is.

What do you think??

Should Sharia law be consigned to Room 101??

Also, please let me have your ideas for a next topic.

Room 101 and Censorship


Censorship-Quotes-80

As part of my series of Room 101 posts I took the brilliant suggestion of Censorship from the amazingly talented mco9com at https://healthandgender.wordpress.com

Just to recap what my Room 101 posts are about, for those of you, and there are many, who haven’t bothered to read or got involved with my previous post (thanks for your support)!

Anyway, here goes the recap;

I will be writing about things I wish to banish from the world because I hate or dislike them.

These Room 101 posts will be inspired by subjects, and these subjects can cover anything, basically anything goes. So for example subjects could be; ‘Modern Life’, ‘Going Out’, ‘People Who Are Happy’, ‘Stereotypes’, ‘Banks’ (and so on and so forth).

Whatever subject is chosen by my readers, I will then write a post about and state what it is I hate or dislike about this subject.

Then you, the reader, can decide if I have made a persuasive enough argument to actually banish what annoys me, to Room 101.

OK, reasoning behind for post is now over so let me explain; why I dislike Censorship.

Draconian censorship is becoming an increasingly common tactic among people who have the audacity to consider themselves liberals.

Freedom of expression has always seemed to have its exceptions, never more so than via legally proscribed hate speech.

This hate speech restriction, has encouraged a culture of almost denial. Censorship or restriction of it doesn’t fully address specific issues around intimidation or incitement. The only solution available; enforcing general social regulation – as though this helps change the situation! This muted confusion is why hate speech laws across the world have no consistency, and therefore no real validity, because people don’t know or can’t agree on what actually constitutes as hate speech.

Hate speech laws;

Britain bans abusive, insulting, and threatening speech. Denmark and Canada ban speech that is insulting and degrading. India and Israel ban speech that hurts religious feelings and incites racial and religious hatred. In Holland, it is a criminal offence to deliberately insult a particular group. Australia prohibits speech that offends, insults, humiliates, or intimidates individuals or groups. Germany bans speech that violates the dignity of, or maliciously degrades or defames, a group. And so on. In each case, the law defines hate speech in a different way.

So one response to this legal censorship might be to say: Let us define hate speech much more tightly.

I think, however, that the problem runs much deeper than definition. Hate speech restriction is a means not of tackling bigotry but of re-branding certain, often obnoxious, ideas or arguments as immoral. It is a way of making certain ideas illegitimate without bothering politically to challenge them. And that is dangerous.

Censorship just sweeps the problems under the carpet, but doesn’t solve a thing for society in the long run.

Now you decide what you think.

Should censorship or legally proscribed hate speech be consigned to Room 101???  

Comments please and suggestions please!!!

Room 101


Attention all readers!!! I am asking all of you (at this blog and those I guest write for), to become more interactive with what I write. By that I mean, voting on my posts and also choosing the topics I write about. 

The reason being……………

 I need feedback for my Room 101 posts.

Let me explain the premise of Room 101 posts………………

I’m going to be writing about things I wish to banish from the world because I hate or dislike them.

These Room 101 posts will be inspired by subjects, and these subjects can cover anything, basically anything goes. So for example subjects could be; ‘Modern Life’, ‘Going Out’, ‘People Who Are Happy’, ‘Stereotypes’, ‘Banks’ (and so on and so forth).

Whatever subject is chosen by my readers, I will then write a post about and state what it is I hate or dislike about this subject.

Then you, the reader, can decide if I have made a persuasive enough argument to actually banish what annoys me, to Room 101.

Does this make sense??? I hope so………………….!

So, these posts won’t work unless I gain your feedback and your involvement in choosing the subjects I will then write about.

To kick off these Room 101 posts I have chosen the fist subject; ‘Modern Life’.

One thing I hate about modern life is;

The use of silly acronyms, especially, Y.O.L.O or ‘you only live once’.

“You only live once” seems to be a phrase used in conjunction with excusing something someone wishes to do that most probably others will frown upon.

It’s a phrase, which I feel screams vapid and glib. Is this what the modern world is??

Why should we concern ourselves with politics, law, money and love, because if we only live once, and live for the now, why bother thinking of others and what comes next?

For me, Y.O.L.O encourages people to adopt a selfish, self centred, self serving, egotistical, hedonistic approach to their life and take others for granted.

If Y.O.L.O isn’t meant as; do all you can, get all you can and to Hell with the consequences then what in fact does it truly mean? Does anyone ever consider the meaning before they say Y.O.L.O? Are people in the modern world less inclined to think before they speak?

I would love to put this Y.O.L.O saying to the test, and see where it gets me! It might make a good sociological study; test the theory of how Y.O.L.O makes you less interested in anyone but yourself! The Y.O.L.O ‘theory’ could inspire a damn good comedy film! Or is it in fact already a title to a James Bond movie??

Anyway, I for one would like to banish the use of Y.O.L.O to Room 101, because for me it has no viable usage. It’s senseless and stupid and we wouldn’t miss it if it wasn’t part of some urban dictionary or online chat room.

BUT – what do you think?

This is where you, the reader, gets involved.

Tell me what you think, decide if Y.O.L.O should be banished to Room 101 and then set me another topic to write about (and we begin the process again). 

I look forward to reading what you come up with!!

Why I Hate New Year Resolutions


Why I hate New Year resolutions;

Because we always allow ourselves to perceive that the previous year was a failure, a let-down, a time when we weren’t good enough.

After all, isn’t that really what the notion of a resolution alludes to – we are all failures, and therefore are required to modify and rectify that at all cost?

Why can’t we just be us, and decide we don’t need to change?

Resolutions are very like false promises;

Sorry, but I’m not going to jump on the positivity bandwagon. I’m not going say that 2015 will be your year, and that you have the power to transform and achieve. Mainly because I don’t really buy into all that stuff!!! The reason being; I see all of that rhetoric as negative, life assassination, and unnecessary pressure to live up to other people’s expectations of us.

Why should we buy into the idea that with every new year we will suddenly all morph into wonder women or men? That in 2015 we will definitely be destined to become another person, a wonderful person, in fact a person you were probably never actually meant to be.

It’s all just a teensy weensy bit delusional;

Just because it will soon to be 2015 doesn’t mean anything has fundamentally changed. We can’t shrug off the past; we all have our individual life experiences, thoughts, ideas, desires and so on.

Why is it with a new year we then become washed clean??

More importantly, why do we want to be??

Just be you;

Because life, from one year to the next, is merely about the experiences we have and share, the learning curve and the path we chose to travel.

I can make a million resolutions, but it doesn’t mean I can or will fundamentally change!

I am merely advocating the ethos; be kind to yourself. I am asking you all to stop applying the pressure to be what you’re not. I make a plea for you all not to view your life (you) as a failure thus far. I call for us all to stop procrastinating with resolutions, which are only made to then be broken.

I suggest that we don’t wait for another new year to come and go; live life now and have fun amassing your experiences, which you should then proudly reflect back upon, without qualms and guilt!

Live your life now, while it is here, and see what it brings you! All the ups and downs are welcome, it is life and you can’t just pick and choose the best bits and edit the rest.

So, let 2015 be what it will be – life as we know it.

Oh, and my New Year Resolution; don’t make any, quite simple really!