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It’s been a busy week for transport. The continued proposal of the HS2, a new suggestion of a yacht for the Queen and the ridiculous preposition of an airport in the Thames Estuary demonstrate just how significant transport has become to the generation of today, but is it important enough for the public to collude in the use of public money to fund it?
Apparently not, as shown by the backlash towards these proposals.
I’ve already covered HS2 in my previous post, and the point still stands. There are still many people, including politicians, objecting to the introduction of this second High Speed route that benefits only the minority, and yet the government speeds ahead with the agreement of this proposal (no pun intended). I suppose this is a classic example of the Conservative approach to the state; they are there to make decisions on our behalf in “our best interests”, not do what we request of them – we can’t think rationally, and we’re intellectually imperfect, you see.
Michael Gove, the man who cut millions from the education budget, however argues that we should be spending lots more money, out of public funds, on our wonderful monarch, Queen Elizabeth the Second. And as I’ve previously stated, I have nothing against the monarch at all, but I do wish we’d stop making such a fuss about her Diamond Jubilee, especially when it involves taking money from the taxpayer’s pocket in a time when we oh so need to save money. But no, Michael Gove and a few other MPs think that we should spend a nice £60 million odd on a yacht, having had her last one shut down in the 90s. That’s all very well – sure, she can have a new yacht if she so wishes (has anyone asked her?) but I don’t fancy paying for it and I’m not sure many other taxpayer’s do either.
I’d like to see more control from the public over where our taxes go, if I’m honest – that way we can really demonstrate where our heart lies. Ok, the state can have a little control to make sure we don’t completely miss out certain important aspects of society and restrict the tyranny of the majority, but at least give us some control – more than that of choosing our favourite party based on their policies in the General Election every five years. That just doesn’t work for me. Fortunately, David Cameron has made one sensible decision (for once) and decided to fund this yacht out of private funds – but where is he going to get those?
Yet, if there were one Conservative any more hated than David Cameron, I’m pretty sure it would be Boris Johnson. And lately, he hasn’t been making this impression any better for him. In fact, it’s probably not the best time to suggest a new airport in the Thames Estuary, considering that the London mayoral elections are going on this year! He doesn’t look set to win again anyway if I’m honest, but this airport definitely won’t do him any favours. As a resident of Medway, where they propose the airport be built, I am obviously very much against this – who would want an airport in their local area anyway? But beside the bias, what good will it do our country? No matter what we do, there will never be enough. If we add a new airport to allow more air traffic, then we will attract more visitors and therefore, we will run out of airspace once again. Nothing is ever good enough, simple as that. Besides, why choose Medway as a spot for air travel? It’s not the most convenient nor nicest spot to get from, and I wouldn’t want Medway to be the first impression tourists had of the UK, in all honesty. Send them to Margate if anywhere. Give them somewhere nice. Not Medway.
But there is one more topic aside from transport, one that has been all over the news today. Of course, it’s the possible introduction of the SOPA and PIPA acts in the United States of America. You may think that this law may only affect the residents of the US, but the Internet is not tied down to one nation – no, it is an international territory in effect. So the laws of the US, can affect everyone else on the globe. I must admit, that the anti-piracy clause is one that should be included – it’s unfair to stop those ‘creators’ from getting the credit and the reward they deserve for their contributions to the cultural community, but the fact is that these new laws are too broad and can cover way too much, so much that almost any website could be taken down for piracy or breaking copyright laws.
Say for example, you write a blog, such as myself and you include a short snippet of a book, or your own illustration of a published cartoon character, you’ve just broken piracy laws and can have your entire website taken down if the creators of these publications do not like the fact you have used them. Again, copyright holders can ask for entries on Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook etc to be taken down if they don’t like how their content is being used.
The SOPA and PIPA acts are, as I said, too broad, and seem to bring about the end of free information and the free Internet. Once an uncontrolled domain and territory of public, civilian content, it is becoming increasingly controlled, regulated and subject to state intervention – something that should be avoided in all circumstances, let alone the Internet. I support the blackouts today and any further action taken to prevent these bills from being passed in the US congress and senate – the free world, the one many escape to, the one where many use for quick and easy information, needs to remain free. SOPA and PIPA will stop that.